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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

About Hemochromatosis.

Hemochromatosis is the #1 genetic killer in the U.S., affecting nearly two million Americans, yet most victims are unaware that they have it. Hemochromatosis is also very common in Europe and Western Africa. If left undetected and untreated, hemochromatosis is fatal in most cases.

Hemochromatosis is an inherited disorder of the small intestine that causes a person to absorb too much iron from his food. Over time, iron builds to toxic levels and destroys many organs. Symptoms of toxic iron excess can differ greatly from person to person. Symptoms might include fatigue or depression, arthritis, impotence and infertility, diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease or liver cancer. Fortunately, early detection and treatment will prevent iron excess and its toxic effects.

Although hemochromatosis is widespread, the blood test for it, called a "fasting Percent TIBC Saturation" (percent TIBC SAT), is rarely included in general screenings. A 1994 study in the Archives Of Internal Medicine showed the cost effectiveness of the test "over a wide range" of conditions and recommended adding the test to routine blood screens.

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