Over the years, Katherine Hough, 27, has had a series of disturbing symptoms.
"I had stomach ache for no reason, and when I entered the university, I often fainted, my hair fell out, I had severe joint pain and I was constantly tired," he says.
"My mother thought it was all because of my hectic student life."
After visiting a family doctor, two blood tests to detect the level of iron showed that the girl suffers from hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), a disorder that causes Iron accumulates excessively in the body.
Most of us think that iron is a strengthening mineral and we only worry about its deficiency.
Little is known about the risks associated with compound accumulation, and some of its symptoms, such as fatigue, can also be confused with other disorders.
"I was lucky that they diagnosed me quickly." Many health professionals believe that women exhibit symptoms much later in life, which can potentially lead to damage to some organs. "
"Last year I visited the hospital about 30 times, today I suffer from chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and joint pain in my knees, hands and elbows."
"The only remedy for this is letting go of blood in which they mine me half a liter of blood every few months. "
"I feel happy because I was diagnosed when I was young because it allows me to monitor my health, on some days I suffer unbearable pain, I'm all right on other days, but more awareness is needed," he says.
What is hereditary hemochromatosis (HH)
- It is a disorder that causes the accumulation of iron in the body.
- In the UK, about 250,000 people are thought to be at risk for HH, although many have not been diagnosed.
- The risk is higher in women than in men.
- The disease is caused by a defective gene. Northern Europeans, especially Irish, have a better chance of having this gene.
- The symptoms of HH are: fatigue, joint pain, skin problems and sexual health. If left untreated, HH can cause serious illnesses such as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
- Treatment is relatively simple. It consists of phlebotomy (blood collection). As the body produces more blood to replace the removed, it uses the excess of accumulated iron.
Source: Hemochromatosis UK
"The most common disorder you have never heard of"
In the last report of the Helochorosis Association (HUK), 2,000 people with this disorder were interviewed around the world.
It was found that 73% of patients had mental difficulties, 81% experienced fatigue, and 87% experienced arthritis or joint pain.
Although most were satisfied with the treatment of their specialists, a third was indicated that the information and support of their general practitioners were weak.
As the doctor notes Edward Fitzsimons, hemochromatic specialist at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, "hemochromatosis is one of the most common genetic diseases among populations in northern Europe."
"However, it is a disease that easily escapes the diagnosis, Eight in 10 patients are not diagnosed."
"This is certainly one of the most common disorders you have never heard of."
"I felt like an old complaining"
Abigail Harvey, 19 years old, was diagnosed with hemochromatosis when she was only 15 years old.
Until then, in addition to depression, she suffered from severe menstrual cramps and joint pains. At the age of 14, she was admitted to the hospital for a suicide attempt.
"A beautiful therapist who saw, suggested that I have blood tests."
"I had strong pains all over my body and I felt like an old complaining, not like a young teenager."
"Everyone around me thought I was anemic, but it turned out that he suffered from excessive accumulation of iron. "
"Many of the doctors I saw asked me to explain my illness, why so much is known about anemia, but not about her devilish cousin?"
Since the diagnosis, Abigail has been treated with phlebotomy with limited success.
"I need to stress how important it is to ask a doctor analyze iron levels if these symptoms occur, "he says.
David Head, CEO of HUK, says: "The history of many Abigail menstrual problems, joint pain, mental health problems, delayed diagnosis and treatment problems are repeated in many patients."
"It is important to emphasize that healthcare professionals are aware of iron depletion and proper testing when patients describe these problems," he says.
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