Iron Overload, or Hemochromatosis, as it’s referred to medically, is a genetic metabolic disorder that affects the lives of over 1 million Americans alone. Simply put, the body of someone affected absorbs up to four times as much iron as normal. This can cause the excess iron, if left untreated, to damage joints, organs, and eventually be fatal.
While iron is an important nutrient required by your body, as it carries oxygen in hemoglobin to all parts of the body, it can still be harmful when your body absorbs too much of it. Normally, only about 8-10% of the iron in the food you eat gets absorbed by your body, unless you have this genetic condition.
Hemochromatosis increases the risk for diseases and conditions such as:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Arrhythmia or heart attack
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis, osteoporosis)
- Cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer
- Gall bladder disease
- Some cancers
There have even been some observed links between mismanaged iron in someone’s brain and people with degenerative brain disorders like Alzhiemer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Huntington’s disease.
When hemochromatosis is diagnosed early and treated before organs are damaged, a person can live a normal life expectancy. For people who already have the disease at the time of its diagnosis, there is a possibility of a lessened life expectancy, which is why it is important to be tested for the genetic markers of this potentially debilitating condition.
To read more about hemochromatosis, or iron overload, please
to read a well-written document explaining how it can affect your life, or go to http://www.hemochromatosis.org to find even more useful information for you.
Please check back with the site regularly to look for any updates from the physicians!