Definition: Hemochromatosis, also called iron overload, is a condition in which the body stores too much iron.

  • The condition is fairly common, affecting more than a million Americans.
  • There are two types of hemochromatosis, each with different causes.: An inherited genetic change is the most common cause. It’s called primary hemochromatosis, hereditary hemochromatosis, or classical hemochromatosis.

In secondary hemochromatosis, medical treatments or other medical conditions cause iron overload. Examples include blood transfusions, iron pills or injections, kidney dialysis over a long period, and liver disease, such as hepatitis C infection or fatty liver disease.

  • The inherited form of hemochromatosis is more common in white people with ancestors from Northern Europe. It’s less common in people of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian descent.
  • Men have hemochromatosis more than women.
  • Hemochromatosis is also more common in older people because iron toxicity takes years to develop.

Symptoms of hemochromatosis

  • Fatigue (feeling tired a lot).
  • General weakness.
  • Heart flutters or irregular heartbeat.
  • “Iron fist,” or pain in the knuckles of the pointer and middle fingers.
  • Joint pain.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Abdominal pain/hepatomegaly
  • Hypogonadism, decreased libido
  • Elevated blood glucose levels
  • Hyperpigmentation (bronze skin
  • Depression

Diagnosis and Tests

  • Blood tests to measure how much iron is in the blood
  • Genetic testing for the inherited form of hemochromatosis. 2 gene mutations (C282Y and H63D) of the HFE gene are linked to primary iron overload.
  • Liver biopsy
  • MRI

Management and Treatment

  • Diet: avoid supplements with iron. Stay away from foods with too much iron and limit vitamin C. Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Iron chelation therapy
  • Therapeutic phlebotomy

To schedule an appointment please contact us

Carolina Integrative Clinic

254 Towne Village Dr, Cary, NC 27513, United States

Email: office@ciclinic.com

Tel: (919) 869-6661

Fax: (919) 301-9349