Hemochromatosis TreatmentTuesday, February 01, 2011
Hemochromatosis is an inherited disorder that causes the body to absorb and store too much iron. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill discusses some of the problems this can lead to and treatment of the condition.
If hemochromatosis is not detected early and treated, iron may build up in body tissues and lead to serious problems such as:
Damage to the pancreas, possibly causing diabetes
Heart abnormalities, such as irregular heart rhythms or congestive heart failure
Abnormal pigmentation of the skin
Thyroid deficiency, and
Damage to the adrenal gland
Blood tests can determine whether the amount of iron stored in the body is too high. Many times hemochromatosis is undiagnosed and untreated. Doctors may not think to test for it because initial symptoms can be vague and can mimic other diseases.
Once diagnosed, treatment involves ridding the body of excess iron through a process called phlebotomy, or removing blood. Depending on how severe the iron overload is, a pint of blood will be taken once or twice a week for several months. Once iron levels return to normal, the patient will undergo phlebotomy every two to four months.
For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.