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Hemochromatosis and its treatment

Apr 05, 2017

Hemochromatosis and its treatment

A healthy human body absorbs about 8-10% iron from food. A condition where the body absorbs more iron than the required quantity is called hemochromatosis. It is caused due to the mutation of gene, thereby, failing to control the amount of iron absorption in the body. This leads to excess iron in the body which gets deposited in various organs like heart, liver, pancreas, joints etc. causing a number of diseases associated with them which might also prove fatal. While most of the cases of hemochromatosis occur due to hereditary and genetic reasons, few of them account for some medical conditions too.

Symptoms associated with hemochromatosis include loss of sex drive, loss of memory, lack of energy, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat etc. However, the most prominent one is said to be an excruciating pain in the knuckles of the index and middle finger. While most of the patients of hemochromatosis are found to be in the age group of 30-35 years in women, men of 25-35 years of age are usually more susceptible to the condition.

If left untreated, hemochromatosis can lead to osteoarthritis, enlarged heart, liver and spleen, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, skin abnormalities etc. and might also be fatal. Therefore, it is imperative that once the signs of hemochromatosis are shown, a doctor must be consulted with immediately. For diagnosis, blood tests, DNA tests and liver biopsy are usually recommended.

The most common treatment for hemochromatosis is phlebotomy which means removal of blood from the body as an effective way of relieving the symptoms of hemochromatosis. Though it is the cheapest treatment produce with minimum side effects, in certain cases, if the patient is uncomfortable with phlebotomy, medication is used as an alternative method of treatment. However, these medicines are expensive and usually associated with many side effects. Besides, a patient of hemochromatosis is advised to strictly refrain from taking iron and vitamin C supplements, besides alcohol.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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