Haemochromatosis

Haemochromatosis is a medical condition that causes people to absorb too much iron from their diet. It accumulates around the body over time, damaging many organs, including the liver, and eventually causing disease.

There are several forms of haemochromatosis. In genetic haemochromatosis, inheritance of a faulty or abnormal gene is responsible for an increase in the amount of iron entering the body.

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Facts about Haemochromatosis

Genetic haemochromatosis, as its name suggests, runs in families and is now recognised as one of the most common disorders of this type.   The disorder is caused by a gene. This is a segment of DNA containing the instructions for making up your body. Genes are packaged in a sequence on strands of DNA called chromosomes which are found in the nucleus of each cell in your body. All of us carry up to 30,000 individual genes.
Iron is a mineral that is essential to health. Some minerals, such as calcium, sodium and potassium, are required by your body in large amounts (‘macrominerals’). Iron is a ‘trace mineral’ which is needed in smaller amounts. Other trace minerals include zinc, cooper and chromium.   As a nutrient, iron is important in your diet to help make haemoglobin, a vital protein in red blood cells. Haemoglobin gives red blood cells their colour and helps them carry oxygen around your body.   If you receive too little iron, you can become anaemic. In fact, a lack of iron in the body is the most common nutritional deficiency in the UK and throughout the world.