Iron overload disorder
Haemochromatosis is an inherited condition in which iron levels in the body slowly build up over many years.
This build-up of iron, known as iron overload, can cause unpleasant symptoms. If it isn't treated, thiscan damage parts of the body such as the liver, joints, pancreas and heart.
Haemochromatosis most often affects people of white north European background, and is particularly common in countries where lots of people have a Celtic background, such as Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
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Symptoms of haemochromatosis usually start between the ages of 30 and 60.
Common symptoms include:
Only a small number of people with two copies of this genetic fault will ever develop the condition. It's not clear exactly why this is.
If the condition is diagnosed and treated early on, haemochromatosis doesn't affect life expectancy and is unlikely to result in serious problems.
But if it's not found until it's more advanced, the high iron levels can damage parts of the body.
This can lead to potentially serious complications, such as:
Find out about haemochromatosis, an inherited condition in which iron levels in the body slowly build up over many years.
Find out about the main symptoms of haemochromatosis and when to get medical advice.
Find out why haemochromatosis occurs and how it's passed on through families.
Find out who should get tested for haemochromatosis and how the condition is diagnosed.
Find out about the main treatments for haemochromatosis, including whether you should make any changes to your diet.
Find out about the further problems that can occur if haemochromatosis isn't diagnosed and treated early on.