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Hemachromotosis should be spelled “Hemochromatosis”

This is a very common misspelling.

Hemochromatosis Definition, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

What is Hemochromatosis?

Hemochromatosis is an inherited disease also know as Bronze Diabetes, in which too much dietary iron is absorbed into the body. The iron accumulates in organs such as the liver, heart, pancreas and other organs.

Symptoms of Hemochromatosis:

Usually symptoms do not materialize until middle age.  The loss of sex drive and shrinkage of the testes are often the first symptoms. The iron overload of Hemochromatosis can eventually cause an enlarged liver and cirrhosis of the liver.  Also decreased insulin production by the pancreas is also common and can lead to Diabetes mellitus.  In the later stages of the disease, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia are also possible as is liver failure and liver cancer.

Causes of Hemochromatosis:

Hemochromatosis is almost entirely confined to men.  Women are very rarely affected because they regularly lose iron through their menstrual cycles.  Hemochromatosis is known to be genetic in origin but the exact method of inheritance is not known.  Male relatives of an infected person seem to at most risk of developing the disease and should be checked for too much iron in their blood.  A simple blood test can verify the presence of excessive iron.

Treatment of Hemochromatosis:

The main treatment is to venesection which is removing blood just as in donating blood.  Usually at the beginning of treatment after the diagnosis of hemochromatosis the patient may be required to give blood as much as once or twice a week until the blood iron level is brought down to a normal level.  Once the iron level is at a normal level then typically the patient would only be required to give blood several times a year to keep the iron levels within normal levels.

Important Note:

Iron overload can also be caused by excessive alcohol intake.  It is extremely important to abstain from drinking alcohol if you have been diagnosed with hemochromatosis. If you are an alcoholic and have been tested high for iron, it is possible that you may not have hemochromatosis.  It is extremely important to be honest with your doctor about your alcohol intake so that an accurate diagnosis can be made.