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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers April 30, 2017
Pharmacy Choice - Hemochromatosis Disease State Management - April 30, 2017

Hemochromatosis Disease State Management

Hemochromatosis is a single-gene disease that causes iron accumulation in the body tissues as a result of increased iron absorption from food in the intestines. Although the genetic defect is present at birth, most individuals remain don't experience symptoms until they reach they are between the age of 30 and 50 in males and over the age of 50 in females. Females typically do not experience symptoms until they have reached menopause, and no longer lose iron as a result of menstruation. Due to the body's inability to excrete the excess iron it takes in, the iron accumulates in the body tissues, most notably the pancreas, the liver, and the heart. If left untreated, this may lead to organ failure resulting in diabetes, cirrhosis, and heart disease. In many patients the iron buildup becomes so excessive that it visibly shows up in the skin and is sometimes referred to as "bronze diabetes" because of the patient's appearance.

As many as 1 in 200 Americans are believed to carry both copies of the gene for hemochromatosis. It is estimated that about half of them will eventually develop complications, of which diabetes is the primary concern. Hemochromatosis is as prevalent as type 1 diabetes, and like type 2 diabetes, it is severely under-diagnosed. Common symptoms include joint pain, fatigue, lack of energy, abdominal pain, loss of sex drive, and other symptoms typically seen with diabetes and heart disease. Diagnosis of Hemochromatosis through blood tests can determine if body stores of iron are too high. Testing can be done by a combination of the following tests: serum ferritin, serum iron and TIBC, genetic testing, and liver biopsy. Once a patient is diagnosed, the treatment protocol is phlebotomy (blood-letting) on a standard schedule of a pint of blood once or twice a week until their blood iron levels are in the normal range. Patients are then put on a regular schedule of phlebotomy to keep the blood iron levels in the normal range.


Links - Hemochromatosis
The Hemochromatosis Information Center - Provided by Iron Disorders Institute. Iron Disorders Institute (IDI) exists so that people with iron disorders receive an early and accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment and are equipped to live in good health.

American Hemochromatosis Society - "Prevention Through Genetic Testing"™

Wikipedia - Information about hemochromatosis from Wikipedia - the Free Encyclopedia.

Hemochromatosis - Information from the Genetics Home Reference.

MedlinePlus - MedlinePlus will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations.

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