Hemochromatosis is a condition that is caused by excess amounts of iron. Over many years, the amount of iron builds up in the body and this can also be referred to as iron overload.
While iron is very important for the formation of red blood cells (which is why low iron causes anemia), there is definitely such thing as ‘too much of a good thing’ in this case. Having too much iron in the body can, therefore, cause damage to many parts of the body, such as the liver, the joints, the pancreas and the heart.
It normally affects people who are white, with a northern European background. It is also very common in countries with Celtic backgrounds (Ireland, Scotland, Wales).
The symptoms typically begin between the ages of 30 to 60 and include weight loss, tiredness, joint pain, irregular periods (women), erectile dysfunction (men), and more.
Unfortunately, the bad news is that there is no cure for hemochromatosis and no way to ‘get rid of it’. That said, there are things that you can do to manage the symptoms and to reduce the amount of iron that is in the body. In this post, we will look at 10 options you should consider if you have this destructive and lesser-known condition.
Phlebotomy is a treatment that is used to treat the condition of hemochromatosis and basically involves removing some blood.
Women who are currently on their periods will frequently experience excessive blood loss and this will very often result in low iron, and tiredness, paleness, and other symptoms associated with that. In fact, this is why many women are recommended to take an iron supplement at this time.
In effect, this is exactly what the phlebotomy is doing – removing a certain amount of blood in order to try and remove the iron content at the same time. You will lie back in a chair and a needle will then be used to remove a small amount of blood – usually about 500ml, which is just under a pint. That’s not a whole lot, but it can make a fairly big difference to the way you feel.
Induction means that the blood is removed on a frequent basis (weekly) and after this period (lasting about a year), you will then switch to ‘maintenance’ (removing blood less often – around once every two to three months).