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Hemochromatosis

Symptoms of Hemochromatosis

Early symptoms of hemochromatosis may include:
 
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Joint pain.
     
If hemochromatosis is not detected early and treated, iron may accumulate in body tissues and may eventually lead to serious symptoms, including:
 

Diagnosing Hemochromatosis

In order to make a hemochromatosis diagnosis, the healthcare provider will likely ask a number of questions about a person's medical history, perform a physical examination, and order routine blood tests to help rule out other conditions that could be causing the symptoms.
 

Treatment for Hemochromatosis

Treatment for the disease depends on how severe the iron overload is. The first step is to get rid of the extra iron in the body. The process is called phlebotomy, which means removing blood. This process is similar to giving blood. It is simple and safe. A pint of blood will be taken once or twice a week for several months to a year -- sometimes longer.
 
Once iron levels go back to normal, you will give a pint of blood every two to four months for life. Although treatment cannot cure the problems caused by hemochromatosis, it usually helps most of them. Arthritis is the only problem that does not improve after excess iron is removed.
 
(Click Treatment for Hemochromatosis for more information.)
 

Hemochromatosis Disease

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