Introduction To Haemochromatosis

August 9 2017

Be informed this Haemochromatosis Awareness Week.

Haemochromatosis is one of the most common and serious genetic disorders in Australia. It is also known as the Inherited Iron Overload Disorder. About 1 in 200 Australians of northern European origin inherit the genes that cause the disorder. People with haemochromatosis absorb too much iron from their diet, causing the excess iron to be stored in the organs like liver, heart and pancreas, and the joints. Prolonging the overload of iron in the body can be very harmful. If undetected and untreated, the iron build-up in the body will cause damage to tissues and organs and can result in premature death.

The most common symptoms of haemochromatosis are:

•  Fatigue, weakness and lethargy
•  Joint pains leading to osteoarthritis

Other symptoms include:

•  Abdominal pain
•  Diabetes
•  Liver disorders; enlarged liver, cirrhosis
•  Sexual disorders; loss of sex drive in both male and female, impotence in men, absent or scanty menstrual periods and early menopause in women
•  Decrease in body hair
•  Discolouration or bronzing of the skin
•  Cardiomyopathy; disease of the heart muscle
•  Neurological/psychiatric disorders; impaired memory, mood swings, severe irritability, depression.

These symptoms, take time to develop, while some people never develop any symptoms at all.

The good news is that if detected early and before damage occurs, it can be treated simply and very effectively. To schedule an appointment with one of our medical professionals, call us at 03 5229 5192 (Myers Street Family Medical Practice) or 03 5241 6129 (The Cottage Medical Centre).