What is Hemochromatosis?

Hemochromatosis (also known as hereditary hemochromatosis) is an inherited condition in which the body absorbs and stores more iron than it needs. The excess iron comes from foods you eat. Over time, the extra iron can build up in several organs, including your heart, liver and pancreas. If the overabundant iron remains untreated, it can lead to organ damage, including complications with your heart and liver.

Juvenile hemochromatosis and neonatal hemochromatosis are two forms of the disease that are not caused by a genetic defect. Their cause is unknown.

American Liver Foundation. “Hemochromatosis.” http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/hemochromatosis/. Retrieved March 8, 2011.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Hemochromatosis (Iron Storage Disease).” http://www.cdc.gov/genomics/resources/diseases/hemochromatosis.htm. Retrieved March 8, 2011.

Cutler, L.Ac., Nicole. “Phlebotomy Gaining Acceptance as HCV Treatment.” http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2007/11/phlebotomy_gain.html. Retrieved March 8, 2011.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Hemochromatosis.” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemochromatosis/DS00455. Retrieved March 8, 2011.

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