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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is hemochromatosis?

Hemochromatosis is a disease that causes your body to store too much iron. Extra iron builds up in your heart, liver, and joints. Without treatment, iron buildup can cause diabetes, liver disease, thyroid disease, and other health problems. You may be at risk for broken bones. Hemochromatosis can be life-threatening if not treated.

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What causes hemochromatosis?

Hemochromatosis may be caused by genes that you inherit from your parents. You may also develop hemochromatosis as a result of other conditions such as liver disease, or from long-term blood transfusions.

What are the signs and symptoms of hemochromatosis?

Your signs and symptoms may be worse if you eat foods that are high in iron or you drink alcohol. Women may have milder symptoms because iron levels are lowered through blood lost during monthly periods. You may have any of the following:

How is hemochromatosis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and when they started. He or she will ask about any health conditions you have. You may also need the following:

How is hemochromatosis treated?

Hemochromatosis cannot be cured. You may need the following to manage your symptoms:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage my symptoms?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor or specialist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Hemochromatosis

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.