Hereditary hemochromatosis causes your body to soak up an excessive amount of iron from the food you eat. Excess iron is stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. Too much iron can cause life-threatening conditions, like disease , heart problems and diabetes.
The genes that cause hemochromatosis are inherited, but only a minority of individuals who have the genes ever develop serious problems. Signs and symptoms of hereditary hemochromatosis usually appear in midlife.
Treatment includes regularly removing blood from your body. Because much of the body's iron is contained in red blood cells, this treatment lowers iron levels.
Some people with hereditary hemochromatosis never have symptoms. Early signs and symptoms often overlap with those of other common conditions.
Signs and symptoms may include:
· Joint pain
· Abdominal pain
· Loss of sex drive
· Heart failure
· Liver failure
· Bronze or gray skin color
· Memory fog
Hereditary hemochromatosis is caused by a mutation during a gene that controls the quantity of iron your body absorbs from the food you eat. These mutations are passed from parents to children. This type of hemochromatosis is far and away the foremost common type.
Gene mutations that cause hemochromatosis
A gene called HFE is most frequently the explanation for hereditary hemochromatosis. You inherit one HFE gene from each of your parents. The HFE gene has two common mutations, C282Y and H63D. Genetic testing can reveal whether you've got these mutations in your HFE gene.
· If you inherit 2 abnormal genes, you may develop hemochromatosis. You can also pass the mutation on to your children. But, not everyone who inherits two genes develops problems linked to the hemochromatosis of hemochromatosis.
· If you inherit 1 abnormal gene, you're unlikely to develop. hemochromatosis. However, you are considered a gene mutation carrier and can pass the mutation on to your children. But your children wouldn't develop disease unless they also inherited another abnormal gene from the opposite parent.
Factors that increase your risk of hereditary hemochromatosis include:
· Having 2 copies of a mutated HFE gene. This is the best risk factor for hereditary hemochromatosis.
· Family history. If you've got a first-degree relative — a parent or sibling — with hemochromatosis, you're more likely to develop the disease.
· Your sex. Men are more likely than women to develop signs and symptoms of hemochromatosis at an earlier age. Because women lose iron through menstruation and pregnancy, they have a tendency to store less of the mineral than men do. After menopause or a hysterectomy, the risk for women increases.
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