Whether you are suffering from hemochromatosis or are likely to develop this disorder shortly, it is important to know more about the condition. It’s a case of iron overload, where the body ends up storing way too much iron from food and damages organs, chiefly the heart, pancreas and liver. Mostly genetic, it may not be preventable, but organ damage can be reversed through diagnosis and treatment. Let’s find out more about this condition from this blog post today.
It’s an unfortunate scenario if you inherit it from your family, as it’s the most common cause. The problem with DNA arises when it comes from both parents and compels the body of the offspring to absorb and store iron in excess. Such a case is called primary hemochromatosis, classical hemochromatosis, or hereditary hemochromatosis.
You may also develop the condition through medical treatments or underlying conditions, like:
• Blood transfusions
• Kidney dialysis
• Iron pills
• Fatty liver
• Hepatitis C infection
When the condition gradually develops in you, it is called secondary hemochromatosis.
You may have the condition hidden within you and have no clue about it. However, others may encounter issues when the iron level exceeds the normal limit. Sometimes, the signs are not very apparent until one reaches middle age. Despite this, one must always look out for the following signs:
• Joint pain
• Unexplained weight loss
• Irregular heartbeat
• Stomach pain
• General weakness
Apart from running diagnoses, some of which are liver biopsy, MRI, blood tests and genetic testing, the doctor you are consulting may enquire about the following:
• About your vitamin C intake in excess, as it boosts iron absorption
• About your family history of parents suffering from liver disease, iron overload and similar other diseases
• About intake of iron supplements either through injection or mouth
The healthcare provider may also do the following:
• Examine your skin closely to check if the colour is off
• Listen to your heartbeats to check if those are irregular
• Gently press near your liver area to explore if there is pain
The treatments for hemochromatosis are aimed at easing symptoms and preventing organ damage through the following:
1. Therapeutic phlebotomy – It involves measuring the iron content in the blood and removing portions where iron is in excess by using a needle and a tube.
2. Dietary changes – You may have to avoid iron supplements and food items rich in iron and vitamin C, and alcohol as much as possible.
3. Iron chelation therapy – It involves the intake of medication, either through mouth or injection into the bloodstream. It’s performed by a healthcare professional.
Regarding the duration of your treatment, consult your doctor.
You may or may not be a victim of Hemochromatosis. It all depends on your family history and lifestyle. Have the courage to deal with it because the gastroenterology clinic in Kolkata is waiting to manage your symptoms and treat you at LivGastro.
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