Haemochromatosis (Iron Overload)
What is “Iron overload”?
Although it may sound like it, haemochromatosis is not a blood disease; it is, in fact, a disorder rather than a disease, and only becomes a disease when sufficient iron has been accumulated to affect one or more vital organs.
Hereditary Haemochromotosis (HH) is a genetic condition in which there is excessive absorption of iron from a normal diet, leading to iron overload. As the body has no natural way of excreting iron, the excess accumulates in the liver, pancreas, heart and other organs causing serious damage and eventually causing organ failure. Symptoms could typically appear in middle age after years of damage, although HH may also affect young persons in their early 20’s, as well as children (juvenile haemochromatosis).
Most of the suffering associated with the disease is preventable if potential victims are detected in time; and even when it has become symptomatic, many serious complications are reversible—but only by timely diagnosis and treatment.