Hemochromatosis might not be something you’ve heard of—even though a lot of people have this health condition—but it’s a widespread type of iron storage disease that causes your body to store excess iron at dangerously high levels. Over time and if left untreated or undiagnosed, the extra iron in your body can cause damage to several vital organs. Since many of the symptoms of hemochromatosis aren’t unique to the disease (there are several other diseases that can cause the same symptoms) it can be difficult for a doctor to recognize the cause. Although it can be difficult to diagnose, hemochromatosis is one of the most common genetic diseases in North America.
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Whether you’re dealing with symptoms from an unknown medical condition, have recently been diagnosed, or just want to know more about this common disease, read on for these ten facts on hemochromatosis…
1. Excess Iron Is Stored in More than Your Liver
When you have hemochromatosis, your body is unable to absorb the right amount of iron, resulting in a build up. Since your liver is in charge of many important functions, including storing essential nutrients in your body, it’s unsurprising that hemochromatosis can harm your liver because some of the excess iron is stored there. Excess iron can also be stored in pretty much all of your organs, but a lot of it is stored in your heart and pancreas, making the disease even more serious because of the potential implications and long-term damage to these vital organs.
Excess iron stored in your organs is basically like a poison to them—it’s toxic and will eventually cause serious problems or even death. With the overload of iron that’s poisoning your organs, you can begin to experience symptoms all over your body, some of which include include stomach pain, joint pain, and loss of sex drive, the disease isn’t limited by any means.