Haemochromatosis is a medical condition where there is too much iron absorbed in the body. When there is iron overload in the body, iron is then stored in the various organs in the body, such as liver, heart, pancreas, testicles in males, ovaries in females, skin, and joints. If left untreated, haemochromatosis will lead to other medical disorders.
Haemochromatosis is inherited. A faulty gene affects the ability of the body to absorb iron from food. If both parents have this faulty gene, their children will be at risk of developing this disorder. But if only one parent has this faulty gene, this will only be passed down to their children.
The symptoms of haemochromatosis will change as the disease progress. The following are the initial symptoms of the condition. These are:
- fatigue or feeling very tired all the time
- weight loss
- joint pain
- erectile dysfunction
- irregular or absent periods
As the disorder progresses, the symptoms change into the following:
- the skin is darkened or tanned
- abdominal swelling and pain
- the feeling of being thirsty all the time
- the urge to urinate frequently
- loss of sex drive
- severe joint pains and stiffness usually in the fingers
- pain the chest
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the hands and feet
- arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
If treatment is applied early on, haemochromatosis won’t affect your life or result in any serious medical problems. However, complication will occur if not detected early on. High iron levels in the body can cause damage. Heamochromatosis can lead to life-threatening complications, such as:
The liver plays a very important role in the metabolism of the body. If excessive iron is stored in the liver, it will cause scarring or cirrhosis leading to liver damage.
Diabetes is a medical condition where there are elevated sugar levels in the blood. Earlier, it was mentioned that iron is stored in the pancreas which will lead to its damage. If the pancreas is damaged, the production of insulin is affected. If insulin is affected, the sugar level in the blood will increase.
Since excessive iron can be deposited in the joints, pain and swelling can occur. This condition is now called arthritis.
The heart is another affected organ if there is haemochromatosis. When there is too much iron deposited in the heart, iron will damage the heart muscles which will lead to heart failure.
If you think you are suffering from Haemochromatosis you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Haemochromatosis as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).