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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Hemochromatosis: Prevention & Expectations


Alternate Names : Hereditary Hemochromatosis, Idiopathic Hemochromatosis, Bronze Diabetes, Iron Overload Disease

Hemochromatosis | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the disease?

Nothing can be done to prevent the defect in iron handling that leads to hemochromatosis. The symptoms can be avoided or minimized by removing blood at regular intervals. Affected people and carriers of the gene should avoid use of alcohol and steroid medications.

Genetic counseling may be useful for couples with a family history of the disease.

What are the long-term effects of the disease?

Iron overload in a person with hemochromatosis probably starts at birth. The symptoms usually are not obvious, however, until middle life. As the disorder progresses it leads to:

  • weakness
  • apathy
  • loss of sex drive, or erectile dysfunction
  • congestive heart failure
  • irregular heartbeats, or arrhythmias
  • joint pains
  • sensitivity to cold
  • What are the risks to others?

    Hemochromatosis is not contagious. Parents who have had an affected child are at risk of having other affected children. Because the symptoms come on later in life, affected parents often do not know there is a risk until after their reproductive years. A person with hemochromatosis will pass on defective genes to his or her children. The children will not be affected unless the other parent is affected or carries the gene. However, they will be carriers of the gene. Genetic counseling can be useful in providing additional information for family members.

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    Hemochromatosis: Diagnosis & Tests


    Hemochromatosis: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: Ronald J. Jorgenson, DDS, PhD, FACMG
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 06/08/01

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