- What is hereditary hemochromatosis?
- How is hereditary hemachromatosis inherited?
- What are the symptoms and signs of hemochromatosis?
- How is hemochromatosis diagnosed?
- How is hemochromatosis treated?
- What about diet recommendations for people with hemochromatosis?
- What are the recommendations for screening for liver cancer in hemochromatosis?
What are the symptoms and signs of hemochromatosis?
People with early hemochromatosis have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition. The disease may then be suspected when elevated iron blood levels are noted by routine blood testing.
- In men, symptoms may not appear until 30-50 years of age. Iron deposits in the skin cause darkening of the skin. Since females lose iron through menstrual blood loss, nonmenstruating women develop symptoms 15 to 20 years later.
- Iron deposits in the pituitary gland and testicles cause shrinkage of the testicles and impotence.
- Iron deposits in the pancreas cause a decrease in insulin production resulting in diabetes.
- Iron deposits in the heart muscle can cause cardiomyopathy and lead to heart failure as well as abnormal heart rhythms.
- Iron accumulation in the liver causes scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and an increased risk of developing liver cancer.