Hemochromatosis – Causes of Hemochromatosis, Symptoms of Hemochromatosis


is a disorder where there is abnormally high absorption of iron in the body. People with hemochromatosis absorb up to 30% of iron from the food they take in, when it is healthy to absorb only 10% of it. Body dumps this extra iron in other body tissues, especially the tissues of liver, heart and pancreas. In this article let us know what all cause hemochromatosis and how it is characterized.

Causes of Hemochromatosis:

Hereditary hemochromatosis is caused by a gene called

HFE gene.

A child who inherits two copies of a mutated HFE gene is at a high risk of developing hemochromatosis. A child who inherits one copy of the mutated HFE gene is considered as a “silent” carrier of hemochromatosis, who can pass on the defect to the future generation.

Acquired hemochromatosis is caused by medical conditions in which there is a problem making hemoglobin or red blood cells. Medical conditions that can result in hemochromatosis are:

  • Thalassemia
  • Sideroblastic anemia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Hepatitis C
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Excessive iron intake
  • Frequent blood transfusions
  • Alcoholics with liver diseases

Symptoms of Hemochromatosis:

Some of the early symptoms of hemochromatosis are:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain or stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pains

Over time hemochromatosis may result in accumulation of iron in the tissues of vital body organ such as liver, heart and pancreas due to which other serious conditions may manifest. Following are diseases and conditions that are result of

chronic hemochromatosis:

  • Liver diseases, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, enlarged liver, and liver failure
  • Heart diseases, including congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythms
  • Pancreatic disorders with chance of causing diabetes
  • Early menopause
  • Thyroid deficiency
  • Impotence
  • Arthritis
  • Pigmentation of skin, giving it a bronze appearance

You can get more information about types, mechanism, diagnosis and treatment of hemochromatosis in related articles on this site.

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