What Is Hemochromatosis?


Quick Answer

Hemochromatosis is a health condition characterized by an overload of iron in the body. This condition triggers the body to absorb excess iron from food, as stated by Mayo Clinic. The surplus iron is stored in the body organs and can lead to different health conditions, such as liver cirrhosis and heart arrhythmias.

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Full Answer

Hemochromatosis is an inherited health condition that is common in the United States, as reported by the American Liver Foundation. If a patient does not receive early treatment, a body organ can fail. Most cases of this condition do not show symptoms, even in developed stages. However, most hemochormatosis patients have reported experiencing joint pain. Other symptoms may include loss of libido, abdominal pain, heart problems, fatigue and lack of energy. If the condition is not detected due to lack of symptoms, it may cause several health conditions, such as pituitary damage, impotence, arthritis, heart irregularities, skin pigmentation, early impotence and liver disease.

The first step in treatment of hemochromatosis is getting rid of excess iron through a process called phlebotomy. This procedure may be carried out for several weeks to months depending on the iron levels in a patient. After the iron levels returns to normal, maintenance therapy begins. This involves receiving a pint of blood for several weeks.

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