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Hemochromatosis Awareness Month

<H1>Message from the Canadian Minister of Health:
Hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disorder affecting Canadians today. Caused by a defect of iron metabolism, those affected may retain excess iron in vital organs, joints and tissues. This has serious health consequences for those effected.

During the month of May, I encourage Canadians to learn about this little-known genetic disorder. The goal this year is to identify 1,000 at-risk families. One in every 300 Canadians is at risk for Hemochromatosis and one in nine in the general population are carriers of one of the gene mutations.

Iron is essential to maintain human health. It carries oxygen to cells. A deficiency in iron can result in fatigue, poor work performance, and decreased immunity. On the other hand, excess amounts of iron can result in toxicity and even death.

Some symptoms of Hemochromatosis are chronic fatigue, joint pain and arthritis, bronzing or greying of the skin, loss of libido, thyroid problems, elevated glucose and triglyceride levels, enlarged liver and cirrhosis and irregular heartbeat. Complications caused by iron storage can include diabetes mellitus, hepatic dysfunction, arthritis, skin pigmentation changes and congestive heart failure.

Hemochromatosis is the only inheritable disorder in which all the complications are preventable by early diagnosis and treatment. A simple blood test by your health professional can be ordered to diagnose this disorder and effective treatment is also readily available.

Hemochromatosis can also be acquired by patients affected by other chronic diseases who routinely receive repeated blood transfusions, as this can lead to an overload of iron. However, Canada is one of the few nations with a federally coordinated blood transfusion surveillance program and is recognized internationally as a leader in hemo-vigilance.

I would like to thank the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society for creating awareness about this little-known, but common disorder, and for providing information and support to those adversely affected by iron overload.

Tony Clement
Minister of Health
Government of Canada
</H1>
 

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BTW: it doesn't just affect Canadians - anyone of Northern European, and especially celtic or nordic background is at risk.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeRr-S2aWrY

BTW: I have this condition.

My Iron (serum ferritn) levels were 30 times too high.

Treatment consists of phlebotomies (blood "donations"). Started off 2 times a week, then once a week, now down to once every 2 weeks.

I've got to say it's extremely tiring to get bled out every month!!!
But if my doctor hadn't caught this in 5 years I could have had liver cancer. I'd rather give blood than have chemo!!! Asi t is my liver is compromised and is enlarged and "stressed."

My serum ferritin is now 1/2 normal. The docs keep my anemic for a while - up to 2 years - to get the iron out of my organs.

Genetic testing of my relatives found a brother and sister with the same disorder. They are younger so it's easier to deal with. My sisiter had her husband tested, and since he is a carrier it is likely her kids may have it. However, just becoming regular blood donars (once every 3 months) will mean they will never suffer the consequences of this condition.
 

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Treatment consists of phlebotomies (blood "donations"). Started off 2 times a week, then once a week, now down to once every 2 weeks.
Just out of curiosity, can they use the blood? If it can't be donated, I bet your phlebotomist is a vampire. I'd wear garlic to the next phlebotomy. :D
 

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Worthwhile post, haggis, but should we be a little worried that the Canadian Health Minister doesn't know the difference between affect and effect? :)

Excess iron can be toxic for those of us without a genetic predisposition, as well. Unless one is a total vegan, in fact, most grown men would be better off without iron in their daily vitamins.
 

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Worthwhile post, haggis, but should we be a little worried that the Canadian Health Minister doesn't know the difference between affect and effect? :)
He's not sure - he's hedging!;)

BTW great news from the doc: the phlebs are now down to once a month!!!! Normal activites can now commence!!!!
 
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