Chief Cushie ~MaryO~ Posted November 17, 2006 Chief Cushie Report Share Posted November 17, 2006 http://www.sun-herald.com/NewsArchive2/111...p;story=hn1.htm 11/16/06 TOO MUCH IRON RUSTS THE LIVER DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband died at age 62 of liver cancer. I have a feeling that it might have been caused by the undiagnosed complications of hemochromatosis. I think this is so because three of my five children over the age of 40 have just been diagnosed with hemochromatosis and are presently under treatment for it. Could there be a connection between it and my husband's cancer? -- P.F. ANSWER: Hemochromatosis (HE-moe-CROW-muh-TOE-suss) is an inherited disorder with an unfortunately unusual name that makes people think it's a rarity. It is not. It has to do with an inappropriate absorption of iron. Humans have a built-in mechanism that allows the digestive tract to absorb only the amount of iron that is lost every day. People with hemochromatosis don't have this mechanism. They absorb far too much iron, which deposits in many tissues and organs. The liver is the principal organ affected, and the iron rusts it, so to speak. Excess liver iron leads to cirrhosis. Iron in the heart brings on heart failure. In the pancreas it causes diabetes. Joints filled with iron become arthritic. Iron infiltrating the skin turns it a bronze color. Iron can invade the testicles and the pituitary gland and greatly damage them. Although the defect is present from birth, signs don't develop until sometime between 40 and 60. If the illness is diagnosed before organ damage takes place, treatment by removing blood keeps organs healthy. Blood is the body's storehouse of iron. Liver cancer can be a consequence of hemochromatosis. It happens to about 30 percent of those hemochromatosis patients who develop cirrhosis. Since hemochromatosis is a genetic illness, all your children should be checked so that early treatment can keep organs healthy. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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