(Hereditary Hemochromatosis [HH]; Primary Hemachromatosis; Familial Hemochromatosis)
Primary or Hereditary Hemochromatosis (HH)
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- Family members with hemochromatosis
- Western or Northern European ancestry
- Alcoholism, which can lead to liver disease and secondary hemochromatosis
- Joint pain
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of sex drive
- Heart problems
- Damage to the adrenal gland and resulting adrenal insufficiency
- Liver disease, including an enlarged liver, cirrhosis, cancer, and liver failure
- Damage to the pancreas, possibly causing diabetes
- Heart abnormalities, such as irregular heart rhythms or congestive heart failure
- Early menopause
- Abnormal pigmentation of the skin, making it look gray or bronze, or the eyes
- Thyroid deficiency
- Damage to the adrenal gland
- Do not eat red meat or raw shellfish.
- Do not take vitamin C supplements.
- Do not take iron supplements.
- Avoid alcohol.
Treating Associated Medical Conditions
- Liver cirrhosis
- Heart failure
- Enlargement of the spleen
- Brothers and sisters of people who have hemochromatosis should have their blood tested. This will help identify those who have the disease or are carriers.
- Parents, children, and other close relatives of people who have the disease should consider testing.
American Hemochromatosis Society http://www.americanhs.org
American Society of Hematology http://www.hematology.org
Canadian Liver Foundation http://www.liver.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Hemochromatosis. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/hemochromatosis/. Updated January 14, 2015. Accessed February 16, 2015.
Hemochromatosis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddISeases/pubs/hemochromatosis/index.aspx. Updated March 19, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.
Hemochromatosis (iron storage disease). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemochromatosis/index.html. Updated September 23, 2013. Accessed February 16, 2015.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/01/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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