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Symptoms of Hemochromatosis

Although people often have no signs or symptoms of hemochromatosis when they are diagnosed, typical symptoms include fatigue, lack of energy, abdominal pain, and heart problems. As the disease progresses, symptoms can include arthritis, amenorrhea, early menopause, and loss of sex drive. Because the disease is rare, doctors may focus too much on conditions it causes (like arthritis) rather than on the disease itself.

Signs and Symptoms of Hemochromatosis: An Introduction

People with hemochromatosis absorb more iron than the body needs. The body has no natural way to rid itself of the excess iron, so it is stored in body tissues, in particular, the:
 
 
Hemochromatosis symptoms tend to occur in men between the ages of 30 and 50 and in women over age 50. However, many people have no symptoms when they are diagnosed. Hemochromatosis can also develop in newborns and children.
 

Common Symptoms

Joint pain is the most common symptom of hemochromatosis. Other common symptoms include:
 
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Heart problems.
     

Other Hemochromatosis Symptoms

As iron accumulation progresses, patients may have additional symptoms, including:
 
  • Arthritis
  • Amenorrhea
  • Early menopause
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Impotence (repeated inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse)
  • Shortness of breath.
     

Advanced Symptoms

Symptoms that can occur in advanced stages of hemochromatosis include:
 
  • Arthritis
  • Liver disease, including an enlarged liver, cirrhosis, cancer, and liver failure
  • Damage to the pancreas, possibly causing diabetes
  • Chronic (ongoing) abdominal pain
  • Severe fatigue
  • Weakening of the heart muscle
  • Problems with your heart rate or rhythms
  • Heart failure
  • Abnormal skin color, making it look gray or bronze.
     

Hemochromatosis Disease

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