Haemochromatosis, or inherited iron overload disorder, is the most common genetic disorder in Australia. It causes the body to absorb excess iron which builds up in the organs and joints over many years and eventually becomes toxic.
Early symptoms include joint pains, fatigue, weakness and sexual dysfunction.
If untreated it can lead to more serious and potentially fatal symptoms including diabetes, liver cancer and cirrhosis, heart failure and osteoarthritis.
Despite being so common (one in 200 have the genetic pre-disposition) it is not well known and is under-diagnosed. Often only the individual symptoms are treated and the underlying cause is not recognised.
Tests for the condition are simple and cheap.
If people are diagnosed early and treated then haemochromatosis is no barrier to a normal healthy life.
Treatment is simple, drug free and uncontroversial. Regular venesection, like giving blood at a blood bank, unloads iron. Often this can be done at the Red Cross Blood Service and the blood is useful.
If you know someone in your family has haemochromatosis, or you have been feeling tired and aching for an extended period, talk to your GP about haemochromatosis.
Haemochromatosis Awareness Week 2015
Haemochromatosis Awareness week will be observed from 10th to 16th August 2015. During the week there will be many activities designed to raise awareness of haemochromatosis and improve the rate of early diagnosis to prevent much ill-health.
The key messages of the week are:-
- Haemochromatosis is a common inherited iron overload disorder.
- You know too little iron can be bad for your health.
Did you know that too much iron can also be bad for you?
- Iron overload may lead to serious medical problems.
The good news is that it is easily treated if detected early and is no barrier to a normal, healthy life.
- If you know someone in your family has haemochromatosis, or you have been feeling tired and aching for an extended period, talk to your GP about haemochromatosis
Haemochromatosis Australia is the support, health promotion and advocacy group for people with haemochromatosis and their families. The group has operated continuously for 22 years.
We are a not for profit group run entirely by volunteers. We have been endorsed as a deductible gift recipient by the ATO and are registered as a charity.
We have approximately 1500 members across Australia.
We operate an INFO LINE 1300 019 028 and informative website www.ha.org.au . We print publications, quarterly newsletter and organise local support group and information sessions.
In 2013 we crowdfunded and produced a set of videos explaining haemochromatosis and its impacts on people in simple terms. The videos can be viewed on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/HaemochromatosisAust .
Our medical advisors include some of the leading academics and clinicians in the field of haemochromatosis. See our website home page for more information.
Haemochromatosis Australia website www.ha.org.au
Haemochromatosis Awareness week www.ha.org.au/haw