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2013 saw Mike diagnosed as having genetic haemochromatosis (GH). His body was unable to properly process the iron in his food. Instead, the iron was deposited around his body and accumulated in his liver causing irreversible, and fatal, damage.
As a result I, and my other brother Ian, were tested and found to have GH. Regular blood tests allow our iron levels to be monitored. When the iron count rises above normal, we attend a venesection clinic for treatment. Venesection is simply the draining of almost a pint of blood and the effect is to reduce the iron in our bodies; preventing damage caused by excess iron.
It is well worth taking a look at the possible effects of GH and excess iron. This can include depression, arthritis, chronic fatigue, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes. The list goes on.
Part of the work of The Haemochromatosis Society (THS) is to make health professionals more aware of the condition and I feel there is much still to be done. In the year before my diagnosis with GH, my blood was being tested regularly and showed abnormally high iron levels but my GP surgery did not make the link to GH.
According to the THS website there are approx. 5000 people diagnosed with GH "but there is evidence that several times that number have tissue damage and disease caused by iron overload". This leaves me asking how many people will die because health professionals fail to make the link between the various possible symptoms and GH?
I firmly believe in the work that THS is doing. Any donation that you choose to make will be much appreciated.
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