Surprising Findings on Women's Health and Hemochromatosis

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 You may be surprised to learn a few things about women's health and hemochromatosis.  I know that I was. It turns out that not only do many women have a problem with anemia, due to low levels of iron in the blood, but women's health (1 in 200 or 300 people in the U.S.) is also affected and challenged by hemochromatosis, iron deficiency anemia's polar opposite. 

Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes an accumulation of iron in the tissues of the body, and if not relieved with therapeutic phlebotomy (This can include extracting a half-liter of blood from the body every week for two to three years till iron levels are reduced!), hemochromatosis can affect women's health by causing damage to many organs of the body, including the pancreas, the heart, and  the liver (leading to liver enlargement).

Women's health is also complicated by hemochromatosis because women will develop several symptoms, which they may not be able to explain away, such as:

* A discoloration of the skin caused by the accumulation of iron in the body
* fatigue
* loss of sexual desire
* joint pain (leading to possible arthritis)
* weakness
* heart problems
* abdominal pain
* loss of body hair
* symptoms relating to the onset of diabetes (hemochromatosis is often called the "bronze diabetes"
because of skin discoloration)
* weight loss

Though more men than women have this condition, women's health is most affected if they are of western European descent:  hemochromatosis is more likely to occur in their population.  Also, it's usually found in women over 50.  However, hemochromatosis may also present itself in women who are as young as 20.

Another important fact on women's health and hemochromatosis:  chances are, if someone in your family has the condition, or one of your grandparents had it, then you are more likely at risk for also inheriting the hemochromatosis gene, with all its attendant women's health issues.

Women's health is further challenged by hemochromatosis because, aside from getting weekly phlebotomy treatments, they may be prescribed medication for the hemochromatosis, itself, testosterone for the loss of sexual desire, and/or they may have to adjust their diet in several areas.

Women who have the symptoms listed above should see a doctor and have blood work done in order to check for hemochromatosis because women's health affects and benefits everyone around them, including themselves.