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Doctor insights on: Iron Hemochromatosis

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What is iron overload, hemochromatosis?

What is iron overload, hemochromatosis?

Too much bodily iron: As a result of the inability to increase iron loss, iron overload is an inevitable response to increased iron entry into the body. This can occur by one of three mechanisms - nutritional intake, increased absorption, parenteral sources (i.e. Transfusions). Hemochromatosis is abnormally high absorption of iron as result of a genetic defect. Extra iron can be toxic. ...Read more

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Dr. (Liz)Phuong Tran
316 doctors shared insights

Hemochromatosis (Definition)

Hemochromatosis is a medical condition caused by iron accumulation in the body. It can be the result of underlying hereditary disease or be due ...Read more


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How common is iron overload/hemochromatosis?

How common is iron overload/hemochromatosis?

1 in 200: It's extremely common, and of all the common, serious diseases, it is the easiest to manage. If it's discovered relatively late, the person realizes they've had "the blahs" for years once phlebotomy removes the excess iron. ...Read more

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How serious is iron overload, hemochromatosis?

Can be deadly: Over time, excesses of iron build up in major organs such as the heart, liver, pancreas, joints and pituitary. If the extra iron is not removed, these organs can become diseased, causing conditions like diabetes mellitus, irregular heart beat or heart attack, arthritis, cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer, gall bladder disease, depression, impotence, infertility, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of iron overload, hemochromatosis?

What are the symptoms of iron overload, hemochromatosis?

A few: Lack of energy, abdominal pain, memory fog, loss of sex drive, heart flutters, irregular heart beat. When symptoms are associated with hemochromatosis, these usually begin in men in their late 20’s to early 30’s. In women, symptoms usually start about 10-15 years after they stop having a period due to menopause, birth control pills or hysterectomy. ...Read more

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How is a diagnosis for iron overload/hemochromatosis confirmed?

How is a diagnosis for iron overload/hemochromatosis confirmed?

Labs and Bx: Labs that include ferritin and transferrin saturation. All patients being evaluated for hhc should have c282y and h63d mutation analysis. This may help in determine risk for hhc but is not always diagnostic by itself. Lastly a liver biopsy with a iron index or MRI may help to confirm suspected cases. ...Read more

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What iron levels are considered "suspicious" for iron overload/hemochromatosis?

Transferrin sat: Your best screen is transferrin saturation. Many of us think that the current recommendation of 45% or more for women, 50% of more for men miss too many people. If you actually have evidence of liver troubles (elevated SGOT / SGPT, for example), think about getting a serum ferritin. With a family history, get the gene testing to know early. ...Read more

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How can I know if I have iron overload/hemochromatosis? What tests should be performed? I hear that there is a DNA genetic test kit for hemochromatosis, is that true?

How can I know if I have iron overload/hemochromatosis? What tests should be performed? I hear that there is a DNA genetic test kit for hemochromatosis, is that true?

Blood tests: Iron and TIBC (total iron binding capacity) can be used to detect iron overload (iron/tibc >45 increases suspicion). Hemochromatosis, one cause for iron overload, can be detected by a gene study. As a general rule, patients with hemochromatosis are referred to gastroenterologist for a liver biopsy, as iron overload can do significant damage to the liver. ...Read more

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Is iron overload/hereditary hemochromatosis "curable"?

Is iron overload/hereditary hemochromatosis "curable"?

Yes: Yes as long as the iron is removed before irreversible damage like cirrhosis or diabetes has occurred. Phlebotomy is the best way to remove the iron. ...Read more

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Iron (Definition)

In the metal group ...Read more