July is Hemochromatosis Awareness Month!
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July is Hemochromatosis Awareness Month!

Don’t feel bad if you’ve haven’t heard of hemochromatosis – that’s why we are here!

Hemochromatosis (also known as iron overload disorder) is a disease that is often under-diagnosed. It causes excess iron to build up in the body. Even though the body needs iron to survive, the concentration of iron in hemochromatosis is toxic and stored in the body tissues, especially the liver, heart, and pancreas. Without treatment, the build-up of extra iron can cause organ failure.

Undiagnosed and untreated hemochromatosis increases the risk for diseases and conditions like:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart issues
  • Arthritis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypogonadism

What are the symptoms?

Chronic fatigue and joint pain are the most common symptoms reported. Because of this, diagnosis is often delayed because these two symptoms are commonly seen in other diseases.

However, pain in the knuckles of the pointer and middle finger, called The Iron Fist,” is the only sign or symptom specific to hemochromatosis. However, not everyone with HHC experiences the Iron Fist.

Other reported symptoms include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Memory fog
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Heart flutters
  • Irregular heart beat

What diagnosis tests are available?

There are 3 tests that together make up the Iron Panel Test. These tests look at serum ferritin, total iron binding capacity, and serum iron. These tests need to be taken as a panel, not independently, to receive a comprehensive and accurate assessment of a potential hemochromatosis diagnosis.

What can we do to honor hemochromatosis awareness month?

The Iron Disorders Institute has launched Hemochromatosis.Org as a wonderful resource to provide people with information, support, and opportunities.

Click here to read about real patients with hemochromatosis and access special graphs and charts to help you or anyone you may know who is facing this disease.
Whether you need a primer on the disease or a cook book to facilitate a healthier diet, they got you! Click here to get more information.
And if you’re in a position to give, then please consider making a charitable and tax-deductible contribution. Click here for more info!

To learn more about hemochromatosis, including causes, types, and treatments, click here!


How are you supporting Hemochromatosis Day? Share your stories, thoughts, and hopes with the Patient Worthy community!