Haemochromatosis Specialist Brisbane Northside

Haemochromatosis is condition that a surprising number of people suffer from in Brisbane.  They are turning to their medical practitioner for advice managing and treating the condition.

 

What is Haemochromatosis?

Haemochromatosis is a condition where iron slowly builds up over the years and causes iron overload in the body. If this condition is not treated, it can cause damage on the different parts of the body like the liver, joints, pancreas, and heart. The condition is usually genetic and inherited.

 

What Causes Haemochromatosis?

Haemochromatosis is caused by a defective gene that is responsible in absorbing iron from food. A person is at risk for Haemochromatosis if both parents have this condition in their families, and it is possible that this condition is passed on to the patient’s descendants.

 

What are the Symptoms of Haemochromatosis?

The symptoms of haemochromatosis usually take places between ages 30 and 60. A person who can possibly have haemochromatosis can experience the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Inexplicable loss of weight
  • Feeling weak
  • Pain in the joints
  • Erectile dysfunction (for men)
  • Irregular periods (for women)

 

While the symptoms are not very alarming, it would be best to consult a general physician (GP) to confirm if it really is Haemochromatosis as these symptoms are also evident on other illnesses.

 

If Haemochromatosis is not detected at the onset, it can progress and cause the following:

  • Loss of libido
  • Darkening of skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Thirstiness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of Hands and Feet
  • Arrhythmia
  • Smaller Testicles (for men)

 

It is important that Haemochromatosis is diagnosed and treated early on to avoid further health problems.

 

What are the Treatments Available for Haemochromatosis?

Currently, the cure for haemochromatosis is not available but there are ways to reduce the amount of iron in the body and reduce health problems it may cause.

There are two main treatments to manage iron levels in the body:

  • Phlebotomy. This is a procedure to remove some of the blood in the body. The patient would need to be do the procedure every week during the first few months but can be decreased once the iron levels become normal.
  • Chelation Therapy. The patient would need to take medications to reduce the iron in the body. This is an option to Phlebotomy, especially if there are challenges removing the blood from the body on a regular basis.

 

A specific diet is not required but a person with Haemochromatosis will be asked to avoid the following:

  • Breakfast cereals with iron contents
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Supplements containing Iron or Vitamin C

 

When Would It Be Best to See a GP?

It is recommended to see a GP given the following conditions:

  • Having northern European family background with persistent symptoms. Haemochromatosis is frequently-encountered by individuals from this descent.
  • An immediate family member with haemochromatosis. It is best to have tests done, especially if there is a risk of developing this illness. The initial test that would be required is a blood test to determine iron levels and identify if the DNA carries a faulty gene associated with the condition.

 

At Ubuntu Medical, we also do child health and Iron Infusions