Munson Health
 
Hemochromatosis

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by Carson-DeWitt R

(Hereditary Hemochromatosis [HH]; Primary Hemachromatosis; Familial Hemochromatosis)

 

Treatment

Treatment is simple, inexpensive, and safe.

Blood Removal

The first step is to rid the body of excess iron. The process is called phlebotomy. This means removing blood. The schedule will depend on how severe the iron overload is. A pint of blood will be taken once or twice a week for several months to a year. It may last longer. Once iron levels return to normal, maintenance therapy is given. A pint of blood is given every 2 to 4 months for life. Some people may need it more often. Female patients may need to increase their schedule after menopause.
The first step is to rid the body of excess iron. The process is called phlebotomy. This means removing blood. The schedule will depend on how severe the iron overload is. A pint of blood will be taken once or twice a week for several months to a year. It may last longer. Once iron levels return to normal, maintenance therapy is given. A pint of blood is given every 2 to 4 months for life. Some people may need it more often. Female patients may need to increase their schedule after menopause.

Lifestyle Changes

These include steps to reduce the amount of iron you consume and/or absorb, and to help protect your liver:
  • Do not eat red meat or raw shellfish.
  • Do not take vitamin C supplements.
  • Do not take iron supplements.
  • Avoid alcohol.

Treating Associated Medical Conditions

You may need to be treated for other conditions that have developed. Hemochromatosis can cause these to develop:
  • Diabetes
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Heart failure
  • Enlargement of the spleen
 

RESOURCES

American Hemochromatosis Society
http://www.americanhs.org

American Society of Hematology
http://www.hematology.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Liver Foundation
http://www.liver.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

References


Hemochromatosis. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/hemochromatosis/. Updated October 4, 2011. Accessed May 1, 2014.


Hemochromatosis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddISeases/pubs/hemochromatosis/index.aspx. Updated March 19, 2014. Accessed May 1, 2014.


Hemochromatosis (iron storage disease). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hemochromatosis/index.html. Updated September 23, 2013. Accessed May 1, 2014.

 

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