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Haemochromatosis? Never heard of it? You should have.....

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gentleman glassmaker
602025.  Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:39 am Reply with quote

It is now reckoned to be one of the most common genetic disorders with 1 in 200 carriers in Western Europe!
It is an overload of iron in the blood, which the body should normally dispel, but for some reason in certain people does not. A bit like the opposite of aneamia!

The only cure currently is to be bled, every three of four months, ( fairly painless unless you hate needles!), so that you have under 20ug/l. of iron in your blood. If left untreated, it can cause abdominal pain, arthritis, late onset diabetes, sexual disorders, cardiomyopathy,a bronzing of the skin, depression, irritability and mood swings!
(I wonder if S.F. has been tested?).

Some people are discovered with over 1,000ug/l ferratin, up to 5,000ug/l which is very dangerous. It builds up over the years and damages vital organs!

A smple request during your next blood test to your GP, that they check your "ferritin level" will either give peace of mind or reveal a sufferer.
An uncle and his son contacted me when they discovered they had it and my sister and I were tested. I proved positive, she was not, but it does affect men and women.
see http://www.haemochromatosis.org.uk/home.html for more info.
Sadly the NHS is largely ignorant of this as are most GP's unless they have a diagnosed sufferer as a patient!

 
CB27
602044.  Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:13 am Reply with quote

A quick look around doesn't suggest NHS or Doctor ignorance, but that studies by groups like USPSTF suggest that mass screenings will not be entirely beneficial.

Thanks for the heads up though, as someone who occasionally has their blood tested because of previous conditions I might ask about this.

 
gentleman glassmaker
602053.  Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:44 am Reply with quote

My doctor had never heard of it and I had to show him emails from my cousin before he agreed I should be tested for it! Since then he has had a few other cases.

This was discovered in the States towards the end of the 1990's and came over here around 2003 as a medical fact. All doctors trained before then were not briefed on the condition, except by a couple of Lancet articles!

 
Posital
602262.  Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:25 pm Reply with quote

If the bleedings don't work - do they prescribe leeches?

Or are they currently proscribed?

Just wonderin'.

 
monzac
602269.  Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:30 am Reply with quote

I had a student who suffered from haemochromatosis. The mood swings you mention and the depression may go some way to explaining the fact that he stopped having the treatments. There were probably other contributing factors, some I am aware of and some that I don't know the details of, but he died some years ago now.

More testing, information and general awareness might help people with this condition to get more help in dealing with all aspects of it.

 
Lukecash
602293.  Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:43 am Reply with quote

Wait, you mean to tell me the the medieval European doctors were on to something?

 
legspin
602324.  Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:25 am Reply with quote

I have heard that the blood drained can't be used for transfusions, which if true is regretable.

 
Jenny
602381.  Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:23 pm Reply with quote

I may be wrong here, but I remember reading that blood-letting was not a bad treatment for high blood pressure before there were effective medications for it. Logical, I suppose.

 
Lukecash
602401.  Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:43 pm Reply with quote

There was a really funny story my college roomate once red to me from a book. I'm doing this by memory, so t he details may be wrong


It was during the crusades in Jerusalem, when a Muslim doctor was called to heal a Man and his wife of a deadly fever. Apparently their European doctor was out of the city.

The Muslim doctor went to the patients....examined them and gave them medicine. As he check up on them, the fever was lessening, and they were gaining strength.

The European doctor came to his patience when he herd of their illness. He found the Muslim doctor there and declared that the Wife and the Husband was risking their immortal souls. The European cure was very rigorous, ending with the patiences hair being shaved off scalp being cut open with a cross incision. "to let the fever out" Of course, they died.

To which the Muslim doctor wrote that it was a rather interesting way of curing the patient.

 

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