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Hereditary Hemochromatosis
(Iron Overload)

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What is hereditary hemochromatosis?

Hereditary hemochromatosis is an inherited (genetic) disorder in which there is excessive accumulation of iron in the body (iron overload). It is a common genetic disorder among Caucasians in the United States, affecting approximately 1 to 6 people in the United States. Individuals affected with hereditary hemochromatosis may have no symptoms or signs (and have normal longevity), or they can have severe symptoms and signs of iron overload that include sexual dysfunction, heart failure, joint pains, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, menstruation. In normal adults the intestines absorb one mg of iron daily from food to replace the lost iron, and therefore, there is no excess accumulation of iron in the body. When iron losses are greater, more iron is absorbed from food.

In individuals with hereditary hemochromatosis, the daily absorption of iron from the intestines is greater than the amount needed to replace losses. Since the normal body cannot increase iron excretion, the absorbed iron accumulates in the body. At this rate of iron accumulation, a man with hemochromatosis can accumulate 20 gram of total body iron by age 40 to 50. This excess iron deposits in the joints, liver, testicles, and heart, causing damage to these organs and signs and symptoms of hemochromatosis. Women with hemochromatosis accumulate iron at a slower rate than men because they lose more iron than men due to iron loss from menstruation and


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Iron Overload - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms and signs with your hemochromatosis (iron overload)?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/iron_overload/article.htm

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