Hemochromatosis or Iron Storage Disease

In Hemochromatosis, there is a defect in iron metabolism which allows it to accumulate in the tissues. The tissues most affected are the liver and the pancreas and the skin which can cause liver failure, diabetes (due to pancreas being overloaded with iron) and a bronzing (like a good suntan) of the skin hence its other name Bronze Diabetes. Since we can not alter the genetics, we must deal with the supply and demand of iron. These patients should be off red meats and fowl dark meat. When diet is not enough we turn to Chelation therapy to remove the iron. EDTA Chelation is usually enough but when it doesnt appear to be doing the job, we use a second chelating agent, desferroxamine (Desferal) and the amount of people helped approaches 100%. Patients must realize that this is a life long problem and must be treated as such.


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