How to Treat Haemochromatosis?

  • December 21, 2023
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How to Treat Haemochromatosis?

What is Haemochromatosis?

Haemochromatosis, a genetic disorder marked by the excessive absorption of dietary iron, results in the buildup of iron in various organs and tissues, including the liver, heart, and pancreas. This iron overload can lead to substantial damage to these organs over time, giving rise to severe health complications. Typically observed in individuals of Northern European descent, particularly those of Celtic origin, haemochromatosis, commonly known as iron overload, poses a risk to vital organs like the heart, liver, and pancreas due to the excessive accumulation of iron driven by genetic factors.

Why is Haemochromatosis a Concern?

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including the formation of red blood cells and the transportation of oxygen. However, when the body absorbs more iron than it needs, it stores the excess in organs, leading to toxicity. Haemochromatosis can manifest in symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, and abdominal pain. If left untreated, it can progress to more severe conditions like liver cirrhosis, diabetes, and heart problems.

How to Diagnose Haemochromatosis?

Diagnosing haemochromatosis involves a combination of clinical evaluation, blood tests, and genetic testing. Physicians often look for elevated levels of serum ferritin, transferrin saturation, and liver function markers in blood tests. Genetic testing helps identify mutations in the HFE gene, which is associated with hereditary haemochromatosis. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances of managing and treating the condition effectively.