We sometimes hear about iron storage problems, but what does that actually mean?
Genetic hemochromatosis (GH) is, as the name clearly states, a genetic disease. That means it’s one that begins with a variant in a person’s genes. In this case, that variant causes the body to absorb more iron than is needed from foods. That iron is deposited in different organs throughout, resulting in iron overload.
The Haemochromatosis Society, a nonprofit organization in the United Kingdom dedicated to increasing awareness and research about the disease and supporting those living with it, discusses a number of genetic hemochromatosis symptoms. Some of those include:
- Arthritis—particularly in the joints in the first and second fingers
- Stomach pain
- Irritability, mood swings, depression
- Change in sex drive and/or menstrual cycle
- Skin Bronzing
- Disorders of the liver
- Decreasing body hair
While these symptoms may be commonly associated with other disorders, the experts say that GH should still be considered as a possible diagnosis when present. As always, it is best to consult your healthcare team if you suspect GH or any diagnosis.