Haemochromatosis

Also known as

  • " Curse of the Celts"
  • Bronze Diabetes

A genetic disorder causing the body to absorb an excessive amount of iron from the diet: the iron is then deposited in various organs, mainly the liver, but also the heart, endocrine glands such as the pancreas, and joints. This is iron overload.

Condition details

The excess iron is stored in the body's tissues and organs, particularly the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, and joints. Because humans cannot increase the excretion of iron, excess iron can overload and eventually damage tissues and organs. For this reason, hereditary hemochromatosis is also called an iron overload disorder. Early symptoms of hereditary hemochromatosis are nonspecific and may include fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, and loss of sex drive. Later signs and symptoms can include arthritis, liver disease, diabetes, heart abnormalities, and skin discoloration. The appearance and progression of symptoms can be affected by environmental and lifestyle factors such as the amount of iron in the diet, alcohol use, and infections.

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Photos of affected individuals

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  • No baby imageBaby
  • No toddler imageToddler
  • No child 4-10 imageChild 4-10
  • No child 10-18 imageChild 10-18
  • No adult imageAdult

Typical age range of first manifestation

  • Does not manifest in Baby
  • Does not manifest in Toddler
  • Does not manifest in Child 4-10
  • Does not manifest in Child 10-18
  • Can manifest in Adult

Symptoms

Affected genes identified to date

  • HFE
  • HFE2
  • HAMP
  • TFR2

Inheritance patterns

Is X-linked Is Autosomal recessive

Type 4

Type, 1, 2 and 3

Are carriers affected?

How many are affected?

1 in 5 men over the age of 45yrs of Celtic background e.g. Irish, Scottish in the British Isles, Ireland, East coast of America ans South coast of Australia, will carry genetic markers and will become ill , while other family members will carry gene

Support groups and organisations

The Haemochromatosis Society
PO Box 6356,
Rugby,
CV21 9PA.
Tel 03030 401 102
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