Secondary Hemochromatosis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatmentswhich few know. In additionSecondary Hemochromatosisis a condition caused by the overabundance of iron from the foods you consume, leading to an excessive concentration of iron in your blood. This can cause serious health problems because your body has no way to get rid of excess iron. The excess of Iron also accumulates in your:
- This buildup of Iron causes damage.
Symptoms of Secondary Hemochromatosis:Many people withSecondary Hemochromatosishave no visible symptoms. When symptoms do exist, they can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:.
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- A little sexual desire.
- Abdominal pain.
- Low energy.
- Joint pain.
Cause of Secondary Hemochromatosis:The two forms ofSecondary Hemochromatosisare primary and secondary. THEPrimary Hemochromatosisis a hereditary genetic disease that causes you to absorb too much Iron from food.
Hemochromatoses Primary:Most types ofPrimary Hemochromatosesare caused by mutations. The HFE gene, or theHemochromatosis, controls the amount of Iron you absorb from food. There are two common mutations of this gene that causeHemochromatosis. A person must inherit a copy of the defective gene from each parent to develop this condition. A person who inherits only a copy of a mutable gene is considered a carrier of the condition, but may never manifest symptoms. Men with the hereditary form of this disease usually develop symptoms between the ages of 40 and 60 years. Women typically develop them after menopause..
The Two Special Subtypes of Primary Hemochromatosis are Juvenile and Neonatal.
- THEJuvenile hemochromatosiscauses symptoms similar to those ofPrimary Hemochromatosisbut typically affects people between the ages of 15 and 30. In addition, this form is caused by a mutation in the home Jovelin gene and not by the HFE gene.
- THENeonatal Hemochromatosiscauses a serious buildup of iron in the liver of a child, sometimes resulting in death.
Secondary Hemochromatosis:THESecondary Hemochromatosisoccurs when an accumulation of iron is caused by other medical conditions, such as:
- Anemia, which occurs when your body does not produce enough red blood cells.
- Chronic liver disease, which often results from infection with hepatitis C or alcoholism.
- Frequent blood transfusions.
- renal dialysis.
Risk Factors for Primary Hemochromatosis:The following people are at greatest risk of developingPrimary Hemochromatosis:.
- People who have a close relative with the disorder, such as a parent, sibling or grandfather, are at a greater risk of inheriting the gene mutation.
- People of European descent are at greater risk.
- Women who are post-menopausal are at higher risk. Menstrual bleeding lowers the amount of iron in the blood, which can delay the onset of symptoms in people at risk of disease.
- While men and women may inherit the disorder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that men are more likely to be diagnosed with the effects of the disease.
Not all people who inherit the genetic mutation for hemochromatosis develop the disease. Many people are carriers, which means they have the gene but have no symptoms. The people most at risk of developing symptoms are those with two mutated copies of the HFE gene, one from each parent. However, not all of these people develop symptoms.
Frisk factors for Secondary Hemochromatosis Include:.
- A family history of diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease.
- Taking dietary supplements with Iron or Vitamin C, which can increase the amount of Iron absorbed by your body.
DiagnosisSecondary Hemochromatosis:The symptoms of hemochromatosis are similar to many other conditions. This makes diagnosis difficult. Several tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis of hemochromatosis..
Blood Test:A blood test can be used to check your Iron levels. This is evaluated using tests for serum iron levels and serum ferritin levels. An additional blood test called serum transferrin saturation test can be used to measure the amount of Iron bound to the transferrin protein, which carries Iron into your blood. A test result of 45 percent or more is considered high.
DNA Testing:If your doctor thinks you may have hemochromatoses, DNA testing may be recommended. You will be checked for mutations in your HFE and Hemo Joveline genes.
Liver Biopsy:Your doctor may also do a liver biopsy. This removes a piece of tissue from the liver for laboratory tests of pathology. Your doctor will look for iron or liver wounds. The liver is the main storage site for Iron. It is usually one of the first organs damaged by the buildup of Iron..
TreatmentsSecondary Hemochromatosis:The treatment of choice forSecondary Hemochromatosisis phlebotomy. Phlebotomy is the removal of blood from your body. You may need phlebotomy regularly to remove excess iron. When you start the treatments, you will have them up to twice a week. After the initial treatments, you can go back four to six times a year.
If I Do not Want Phlebotomy?Most people withSecondary Hemochromatosisdiscovers that phlebotomy is an effective way to relieve your symptoms. In general, it causes little pain and has few side effects. However, some people are uncomfortable with the procedure. Reasons why people refuse phlebotomy include:.
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- Fatigue After Treatment.
- A fear of needles.
- Pain during the process.
- A concern that too much bleeding can cause anemia.
- Discomfort for having blood discharged or used for transfusions.
Phlebotomy is the simplest and cheapest form of therapy forSecondary Hemochromatosis. If you have problems with the process, talk to your doctor about what you can do to make the process easier. Simple things like drinking lots of fluids the day before each procedure can make you more comfortable..
If phlebotomy is an unacceptable choice, for whatever reason, there are other treatments. However, the medication that is used to treatSecondary Hemochromatosisis more expensive. It can also have side effects of its own. These include pain at the injection site and flu-like symptoms.
For people who refuse to phlebotomy, a chelation drug can be used. This type of drug can be injected by your doctor or taken by a pill. This helps your body to expel excess iron into your urine and feces. This treatment is also used for people with cardiac complications and other contraindications to phlebotomy.
The following are examples of what type of damage can occur:.
- Liver damage can cause cirrhosis, which is permanent scarring of the liver.
- Pancreatic damage can cause changes in insulin levels, leading to diabetes.
- Circulation problems can lead to heart failure.
- The buildup of iron in your heart can lead to irregular heartbeat.
- Excess iron can cause your skin to turn bronze or gray.
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Your risk of complications can be reduced if treatment is started as soon as you develop symptoms ofSecondary Hemochromatosis. If you haveSecondary Hemochromatosis, you should avoid:
- Iron Supplements.
- Supplements of vitamin C, which increase the absorption of iron.
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