University Cancer & Blood Center

Hemochromatosis

Overview:

Hereditary hemochromatosis causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you eat. Excess iron is stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. Too much iron can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as liver disease, heart problems and diabetes. The other types of hemochromatosis include neonatal hemochromatosis, juvenile hemochromatosis, and transfusion-related hemochromatosis. The genes that cause hemochromatosis are inherited, but only a small number of people who have the genes ever develop serious problems. Signs and symptoms of hereditary hemochromatosis usually appear in midlife. Signs and symptoms can include lethargy, irritability, depression, joint pain, bronze / yellowish skin color, loss of body hair, impotence in men, infection, and lack of a menstrual cycle in women.

Treatment:

Treatment for hereditary hemochromatosis can include:

  • Phlebotomy
  • Chelation therapy
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Treatment of hemochromatosis-related complications
  • Not taking iron and vitamin C supplements

To learn more about hemochromatosis, click here.

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 QCCA The Cancer FoundationNCI

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