Too much of a good thing!.....Iron
Iron overload disease, medically termed hemochromatosis, is a disease in which excess IRON accumulates in the body. The excess iron leads to damage of major organs such as the liver, pancreas, and heart ("rusty organs"). For most patients this disorder of iron metabolism is inherited. The disease mainly affects males between 30 & 50 years of age. Women are often protected from the full blown complications because of their natural source of iron loss (menses). However-women still do develop the complications of Hemochromatosis.
Well over one million Americans have the disorder. In fact, the disease is the single most common genetic (inherited) disorder in America. For many persons the disease is unrecognized. The treatment at present is phlebotomy-the regular removal of blood which reduces the amount of excess iron in the body. This has been shown to decrease the potential damage to vital organs.
To learn more about Iron Overload Disease, please Visit the MedicineNet.com Hemochromatosis Center.
Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2004