Haemochromatosis - Dream Health

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Monday 22 September 2014


Red Blood Cells
Haemochromatosis – High Iron Level in the Body 

Haemochromatosis is one type of inherited disorder wherein the iron contents in the body slowly builds up over a period of time and hence it is called iron overload disorder. It is an inherited ailment caused by faulty gene known as HFE which enables a person to absorb a large content of iron from food which in normal case, the body only absorbs as much as it is needed.

The excess amount tends to build up in the body causing several problems. It is characterised by excessive iron which is stored in various organs and joints in the body especially the liver. Iron storage tends to keep rising in the person with this condition wherein the liver gets enlarged and may get damaged which may lead to serious disease known as cirrhosis.

Early haemochromatosis may have no symptoms but in later stages it may present various symptoms though not all may experience the same signs. Most of the symptoms may be the same to those that could be caused due to other illness which is the reason why this condition is very often overlooked and not treated immediately.

Recessive Gene Disorder

The condition is a recessive gene disorder which is caused by the mutations of the haemochromatosis - HFE gene and to develop a recessive gene disorder, a person needs to inherit the same from both the parents.

If the mutated HFE genes are inherited from one person only, then they tend to be the carriers and the carrier will not develop the condition but could pass the same to their children. A child has a fifty percent chance of inheriting one mutated HFE gene, if two carriers conceive, and become a carrier.

There could be one in four cases of inheriting both mutated HFE genes and be prone to this disease. To check if a person is carrying the mutated HFE genes, a simple blood test can be done for the same.

Some of these systems experienced are weight loss, liver dysfunction, joint pain normally in the joints of the second and middle fingers, feeling of weakness and lethargy, disorder of the menstrual period like early menopause, abdominal pain, loss of body hair, darkening of the skin etc.

Treatment of Venesection to Reduce Iron Level

Other related problems could also include heart disease, arthritis and diabetes for both women as well as men though women may develop the condition at a later stage in life due to regular menstrual periods which deplete the body of iron.

This condition could be diagnosed partly due to the symptoms which may be similar to those that may occur with other illnesses. Serious damage could be averted if the person with this ailment is diagnosed when the symptoms occur and the iron level is maintained at a normal range.

Haemochromatosis can be controlled with treatment which aims to remove the excess iron from the body which is a simple process known as venesection, wherein the blood is removed from the body on a regular basis just as in the case when the blood is donated with around 500 ml of blood which is taken out. This leads in the overall drop of iron level in the blood.

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