Hemochromatosis (HHC) is a genetic
disorder. Individuals with hemochromatosis absorb too much iron,
which can result in toxic levels of iron in tissues of major organs.
Undiagnosed and untreated HHC can develop into major diseases such as diabetes,
heart trouble, arthritis, liver disease, neurological problems, and more.
There are many symptoms, the most
common of which include chronic fatigue, arthritic pain in joints, loss of
libido or impotence, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath.
People at risk include males of
northern European descent, those with a family history of premature death
by heart attack, liver disease, diabetes, and arthritis, and
post-menopausal women with the same ancestry and family history listed
It is estimated that 1 in 200 people
either has the disease or is a carrier for it.
and Patient Treatment:
The most effective way to decrease the
amount of iron in the body is to remove red blood cells that naturally
contain large amounts of iron. People with HHC will often need
regular phlebotomies to remove the excess of iron.
This is often done in a doctor's office
or at a blood center. In the past, the blood was collected and then
destroyed. Because of a change in guidelines by the Food and Drug
Administration, the Blood Center of New Jersey may now test and process
these donations and, in many cases, use the blood for transfusions to
patients in need.
This is a win-win situation. It
is a rare instance when the treatment for one disease will save the life
of someone with another disease.
Questions and Answers
other Hemochromatosis Information
The Blood Center of New
45 South Grove Street
East Orange, New Jersey 07018
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