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Hemochromatosis (HHC), the most common form of iron overload disease, is an inherited disorder that causes the body to absorb and store too much iron. People with Hemochromatosis absorb extra amounts of iron from the daily diet. The human body cannot rid itself of extra iron. Over time, these excesses build up in major organs such as the heart, liver, pancreas, joints and pituitary. If the extra iron is not removed, these organs can become diseased. Untreated hemochromatosis can be fatal. Hemochromatosis affects more men than women. It is particularly common in Caucasians of western European descent. Adults preserve a constant level of body iron by efficient conservation, maintaining rigorous control over absorption to balance losses. An adult man loses approximately 1 mg of iron daily, mostly in desquamated epithelium and secretions from the gut and skin. Hemochromatosis is classified by type depending on the age of onset and other factors such as genetic cause and mode of inheritance. Hemochromatosis type 1, the most common form of the disorder, and type 4 (also called ferroportin disease) are adult-onset disorders. The appearance and progression of symptoms can be affected by environmental and lifestyle factors such as the amount of iron in the diet, alcohol use, and infections.
The genetic defect of hemochromatosis is present at birth, but symptoms rarely appear before adulthood. There are two forms of hemochromatosis: primary and secondary. Primary hemochromatosis is caused by a problem with your genes or by receiving a large number of blood transfusions which boost your iron levels. Secondary or acquired hemochromatosis can be caused by diseases such as thalassemia or sideroblastic anemia. Iron is an essential nutrient found in many foods. One of its jobs is to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Normally, humans absorb about 8-10% of the iron in foods that they eat. Symptoms are often seen in men between the ages of 30 and 50 and in women over 50, although some people may develop problems by age 20. You have a higher risk of hemochromatosis if someone else in your family has or had the condition. Hemochromatosis results in liver cirrhosis, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, impotence, and arthritis. If untreated, it may lead to death from cirrhosis, diabetes, malignant hepatoma, or cardiac disease. In rare cases, iron overload begins before birth. These cases are called neonatal hemochromatosis. This type of hemochromatosis progresses rapidly and is characterized by liver damage that is apparent at birth or in the first day of life. This is particularly important since early diagnosis and prompt treatment can prevent all of the long-term complications of the disease.
Causes of Hemochromatosis
The common causes and risk factor's of Hemochromatosis include the following:
Symptoms of Hemochromatosis
Some sign and symptoms related to Hemochromatosis are as follows:
Treatment of Hemochromatosis
Here is list of the methods for treating Hemochromatosis:
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