Many people suffer from iron deficiency anemia, which is the most common type of anemia. This occurs when your body doesn’t have enough mineral iron, but there is such a thing as having iron overload. Hemochromatosis happens when you have too much iron in your body. Many times you can tell you have iron overload because it gives your skin a bronze color, which is not always from your suntan.
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This happens when your body absorbs too much iron from the food and drinks you consume. The excess iron is stored in many vital organs, such as the liver, heart and pancreas, which can create life-threatening conditions like cancer and heart disease. The pancreas for example could become damaged and you can develop diabetes.
What are the Risk Factors?
You can inherit an iron overload disorder if it’s in your genes. If a person inherits one copy of the mutated HFE gene from each parent, then your chances are higher. Men are also more likely to develop hemochromatosis than women because women lose iron during their menstruation and during pregnancy. People that eat a lot of processed foods or red meat are also at a higher risk. Many times the excess iron in your body could lead to the development these diseases:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Liver cancer
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Bacterial and viral infections