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Hemochromatosis

What is Hemochromatosis?

Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disorder in which the body absorbs too much iron from food. Usually, excess iron that the body doesn't need is excreted. But in hemochromatosis, the excess iron is stored in the body. Some of the places it is stored are: the pancreas, liver, and skin. The excess iron damages these organs and tissues.

Hemochromatosis is also called hereditary hemochromatosis.

What are the Symptoms of Hemochromatosis?

Some of the most common symptoms of hemochromatosis are: fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes), and a change in skin color to bronze or gray.

Long Term Affects of Hemochromatosis

Over time, hemochromatosis can cause liver disease, liver failure, liver cancer, heart disease, diabetes, impotence for men, and infertility and loss of periods for women.

How is Hemochromatosis diagnosed?

Hemochromatosis is diagnosed through blood tests that measure iron levels. If your doctor thinks liver damage has occurred, a liver biopsy can be done to check for the amount of iron in the liver and for liver damage.

How is Hemochromatosis Treated?

One of the treatment options for hemochromatosis is to remove excess iron from the body. Iron can be removed from the body by drawing blood. The blood will be drawn periodically for the rest of the person's life.

How to stay healthy if you have Hemochromatosis

  1. Check-ups: It is important to have the amount of iron in your blood checked regularly.
  2. Food: Do not eat raw fish or raw shellfish. Raw fish and shellfish contains germs. Cooking destroys germs harmful to people with iron overload.
  3. Alcohol: Do not drink alcohol, especially if you have liver damage. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink very little.
  4. Iron pills: Do not take pills or supplements that have iron. Eating foods that contain iron is sufficient.
  5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C increases the amount of iron your body absorbs. Don't take vitamin C pills. Eating foods with vitamin C is fine.
  6. Exercise: You can exercise as much as you want.

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