What is haemochromatosis?
Hemochromatosis is a frequent genetic disorder causing excessive iron accumulation in the body, potentially leading to severe health complications if not addressed. It is the most common genetic disorder in Australia and impacts both genders equally.
Individuals with haemochromatosis absorb too much iron from their food, known as iron overload, or insufficient iron is removed from their body. If not detected early and managed, this excess iron may lead to organ damage, particularly affecting the liver, pancreas, heart, bones, and joints.
Diagnosis of Haemochromatosis
Haemochromatosis can be diagnosed with a simple blood test that measures the level of iron (serum ferritin) in the body. Genetic testing for the HFE gene can also be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Expectations Following a Haemochromatosis Diagnosis
Early diagnosis and treatment can enable most individuals with hemochromatosis to maintain active and fulfilling lives without experiencing complications. However, if left untreated, hemochromatosis can result in various complications, particularly in the joints and organs where excess iron is stored, such as the liver, heart, and pancreas.
Joint damage caused by haemochromatosis may persist despite treatment to normalise iron levels, causing ongoing pain, stiffness, and difficulty using the joints. Effective management of joint damage typically involves a combination of medication, physiotherapy, assistive devices, and lifestyle modifications. Although haemochromatosis-related arthritis seldom causes severe disability, joint replacement surgery may be necessary in rare cases.
Experience Personalised Rheumatology Care That Puts Your Needs First
Treatment Options for Haemochromatosis in Brisbane
The primary objective of treating hemochromatosis is to lower iron levels to a safe level and prevent long-term complications associated with iron overload. A common approach to treating hemochromatosis is to periodically extract blood through a needle in the arm, which is similar to blood donation. Typically, around 450 ml of blood is removed at regular intervals until iron levels are within the safe range.
While this treatment method is generally effective in reducing iron levels, it does not seem to alleviate arthritis symptoms or reverse joint damage. Treatment options for arthritis vary depending on the specific joints affected and may include:
- Pain management with medications such as paracetamol
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can include topical creams and ointments
- Tailored exercise programs based on individual needs and abilities
- Weight loss programs for overweight individuals
- Joint replacement surgery in cases where other therapies fail to manage symptoms effectively.
The team at ArthritisCARE works with you to create a holistic and effective plan to decrease your iron levels and prevent further complications. Contact us to make your appointment with a professional and friendly rheumatologist today.
Haemochromatosis Treatment Costs in Brisbane
The cost of hemochromatosis treatment can vary depending on the type of treatment and your individual needs.
You can read through the Frequently Asked Questions page on our website, which provides details on our current costs for initial consultation and follow-up reviews, as well as information on the Medicare rebates available for each consultation. By working closely with referring doctors, we aim to ensure comprehensive and coordinated care for those affected by this genetic disorder.
ArthritisCARE is committed to offering expert hemochromatosis treatment in Brisbane. Reach out to our team to learn more about how we can support your health journey and help you manage this condition effectively.
Why ArthritisCARE for your haemochromatosis
treatment in Brisbane?
At ArthritisCARE, we are committed to providing the highest quality care to help you manage your illness effectively. Our team of experienced medical professionals has the expertise and knowledge to develop personalised treatment plans that fit your needs.
With a focus on patient-centered care, we will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you receive the best possible care and advice. Contact us today to learn more about our hemochromatosis treatment services in Brisbane.
Meet Dr. Peter Landsberg
Our founder, Dr. Peter Landsberg, specialises in treating inflammatory arthritis and connective tissue diseases. He has built a team committed to helping patients manage their condition and improve their quality of life. With a focus on holistic care, we offer comprehensive treatment options to address the unique needs of each patient with hemochromatosis.
How to contact usFind a hemochromatosis specialist near me:
You can find all the commonly asked questions about hemochromatosis below:
Yes, gene testing can be done to diagnose hereditary hemochromatosis. A simple blood test may show the presence of a mutated HFE gene, which is what causes too much iron to be stored in your body.
While a specific diet cannot cure hemochromatosis, dietary changes can help manage the iron overload. Adopting a low-iron diet and therefore avoiding iron-rich foods such as red meat, organ meats, and fortified cereals can help reduce iron levels in your blood.
Haemochromatosis (and the associated arthritis caused by iron overload) cannot be cured, but it can be effectively managed with treatment and lifestyle changes. Early diagnosis and intervention help to reduce long-term complications or premature death from the condition.
Haemochromatosis is a common genetic disorder that can affect both men and women equally, however men may develop early symptoms and signs of the disease. This is because women lose iron when menstruating or pregnant. After menopause, or if a woman has had a hysterectomy, their risk of developing haemochromatosis is the same as in men.
While red meat is high in iron and should be limited, it does not need to be completely eliminated from the diet. Moderation is key, and it is recommended to consume red meat in small amounts.
The warning signs of hemochromatosis can include fatigue, abdominal pain, diabetic symptoms, or joint pain. As the disease progresses, it can cause liver damage, diabetes, joint damage, arthritis, and heart disease.
If hemochromatosis is diagnosed and treated early, your life expectancy can be normal. However, if the disorder is left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications and premature death.
Haemochromatosis can start at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in individuals over the age of 40. It is important for individuals with a family history of hemochromatosis to get tested early.
Where can I learn more about hemochromatosis?
Arthritis Australia’s Haemochromatosis Resources
Information Sheet: Haemochromatosis and haemochromatotic arthritis by Arthritis Australia
Haemochromatosis Your Questions Answered
Trust Our Experienced Rheumatologists to
Get You Back to the Activities You Love
If you’re suffering from joint pain, stiffness, or other symptoms related to arthritis, lupus, or other rheumatic conditions, we are here to help. Our team of experienced Rheumatologists is dedicated to providing personalized care and effective treatment options that can help alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life.