Friday, August 23, 2019

A Genetic Curse?

Hemochromatosis – do you have it?

Do you feel tired all the time?  Have you experienced any of the following symptoms:   joint pain, bronzing or greying of the skin, loss of libido, thyroid problems, elevated glucose and triglyceride levels, enlarged liver and cirrhosis or irregular heartbeat?

If you do, you may have a genetic illness that causes excessive iron storage.   This disease is Hemochromatosis.

Hemochromatosis is one of the most common genetic diseases affecting persons of northern European extraction.  In fact so common in certain areas, it is called the Celtic Curse.

One in 9 of the general population carry one hemochromatosis gene.

One in 6 from Celtic ancestry carry one hemochromatosis gene.

Hemochromatosis is Canada’s most common genetic disease, with 1 in 300 having both mutated genes that cause the disorder.  In those with Irish roots, the ratio jumps to one in 83, thus the name “The Celtic Curse”.

Diagnoses is done with a simple blood test, unlike 10 years ago when a liver biopsy was required.

Fortunately Hemochromatosis can be treated under a doctor’s care with regular removal of blood (a  procedure called phlebotomy) to remove the excess iron.   As the body makes new blood cells to replace those lost during the phlebotomy, iron is pulled out from storage in the organs, tissues and joints, bringing the iron levels down to safe levels.

Please talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms and tell others about this disease. Undiagnosed and untreated hemochromatosis can lead to liver disease and cancer, heart failure, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Reference: Canadian Hemochromatosis Society newsletter “Iron Filings”.  For more information on hemochromatosis, go to their website

Note - This post  is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.  Please talk to your doctor for more information.


3 Responses to “A Genetic Curse?”
  1. Anne Stang says:

    thank you for posting this. I’m the Calgary Rep for the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society. Depending on where you are, I or they could arrange for a speaker for you if that is appropriate. I’m so grateful that I was diagnosed in a routine exam before i showed symptoms. My sisters were not as lucky.

  2. Pat says:

    The public really needs to be made aware of hemochromatosis and how deadly it can be.
    I am trying to get the word out to as many folks as possible. Most folks won’t go to a doctor for a physical unless are feeling bad. The problem with HH is that it can do a horrendous amount of damage with no outward signs. It is a good idea to request an HH test because so many doctors neglect to do so. No doubt letting thousands die. Get teasted right away.

  3. Julie says:

    I’m 36yrs old women with monthy cycles. I live in the united states (florida). I have seen some of the best doctors and have diagnosed with 2 types of mutated genes c and j. My family is from belgium. I began having symptoms 2 years ago, my doctor were confused they tested for everything else and thousands of dollars later. I changed doctor for a second option. Iwas ask something I had never been asked “is your family european desendant?” Then I was tested by blood and mri of the liver. From there a person who use to fall asleep where ever she was and her wrist in so mush pain began phlebotomy treatments. Let me tell you, half way through it was like someone had flip a switch and it felt good to live again. All over a second opion. And my genetic markings.

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