Haemochromatosis is a genetically inherited blood condition affecting iron metabolism, causing a person to absorb too much iron. The iron stores (Ferritin) in the body may become high enough to cause damage to major organs, especially the liver, but also the heart, joints, pancreas and sex organs.

Early haemochromatosis symptoms include fatigue and joint pain. Other haemochromatosis symptoms may include abdominal discomfort,

low libido (loss of sex drive), hair loss and 'Bronzed' complexion.

Without treatment patients with long term haemochromatosis are at increased risk of liver problems including cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, enlarged liver, liver failure and diabetes.

 
 

Note: Always seek advice from a doctor before beginning any listed treatments. Treatments can affect everyone differently.

The goal for haemochromatosis treatment is to reduce the iron stores (ferritin) in the body. Your doctor will prescribe and treatments for any other complications such as diabetes, liver issues or heart problems.

 

Medical Treatments

Venesections:

are the gold standard treatment for haemochromatosis. This involves blood letting which in turn reduces the patients ferritin levels. Initially it is advised to get the patients ferritin levels below 50 in order to remove excess iron from the patients organs. After this has been done the patient must continue with venesections (blood lettings) periodically for the rest of their life, how often and at what ferritin level the patient feels better at varies from person to person.

Iron Chelation Therapy:

uses drugs to remove excess iron from the body. This treatment is for people who are unable to have regular venesections (blood lettings). The drugs used are either injected or taken orally. Chelation therapy is done at a medical practice. Oral chelation therapy can be done at home by the patient.

Professional Support:

Working with a trained practitioner can assist you to develop skills to calm anxiety and can also equip you with knowledge to find your next steps towards wellness. Please ensure that you find a practitioner who understands how to navigate the territory of complex chronic health conditions.

Alternative Treatments

Diet for Haemochromatosis:

The most important foods for a haemochromatosis patient to avoid are raw seafood, alcohol and it is also to beneficial to minimise red meat consumption. Cereals and breads with added iron should also be avoided. Diet should be used in conjuction with a venesection program to reduce ferritin (iron stores) in the patient.

Supplements to AVOID:

It is important for haemochromatosis patients to AVOID all iron supplements and supplements with iron in them. Patients with haemochromatosis should also note that vitamin C accelerates the absorption of iron by the body which may increase iron levels.

Supplements to TAKE:

The following supplements can help to reduce iron absorption from meals. turmeric, calcium

magnesium, polyphenols and tannins, oxylates and phytates.

Mindfulness for Haemochromatosis:

is a set of skills for healing, intuition, insight, calmness, focus, resilience and hope that you can develop to counter the stresses that chronic illness brings. You can literally "train your mind to promote healing. Mindfulness has a positive flow on affect into every aspect of a person’s life. For more info click here.

Haemochromatosis is able to be diagnosed by blood tests.

 

Iron studies blood test shows how much iron is currently stored in the body.

 

Normal ranges for males are Serum Ferritin 20-300 μg/L and Transferrin Saturation 10-50%.

Normal ranges for females are Serum Ferritin 10-200 μg/L and Transferrin Saturation 10-45%.

The genetic test will show one of the following for the mutations C282Y and/or H63D of the HFE gene. This will indicate whether the patient has haemochromatosis or not. Everybody has 2 genes, one from each of their parents and it is possible that the patient inherits only one iron storing gene and is a carrier but does not have haemochromatosis. Haemochromatosis occurs when an iron storing gene mutation is inherited from both parents.

Which medications or supportive therapies have helped your Haemochromatosis?

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Disclaimer: Information and advice shared by Chronic Health Info is of a general nature and is not intended to replace qualified medical advice.

The Towards Wellness Centre does not accept responsibility for any actions or treatments undertaken.