Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis are two common problems found in people who have iron overload, also known as Hemochromatosis.
My husband was recently diagnosed with Hereditary Hemochromatosis, he got it from his parent(s), Dad, Irish...this disorder often runs silently within families until someone is diagnosed sometimes by accident, or found to have some liver disease or complications from iron overload, for example "fatty liver", liver cirrhosis, fibrosis, hepatomegaly, liver cancer.
Many people with iron overload have compromised immune systems and are less likely to fight off the viruses and infections, like Hepatitis C. Excess iron, which loads onto liver first, also causes liver damage, elevated liver enzymes. My husband has both, but also has fatty liver and other organ damage from the iron overloaded onto pancreas and gallbladder and joint damage with painful arthritis. He as stage 2 peri-portal fibrosis which is progressing, as of last biopsy.
This was missed in our case for over 10 years, and we lost precious time. For those diagnosed with NAFLD or NASH or have elevated liver enzymes that remain elevated and the dr has ruled out other reasons for elevations, then this is another thing they must test for, is iron overload.
The tests you want the dr to run are not routine...hemoglobin can give a clue, but not always abnormal, especially in early stages of iron overload, but the other tests they need to run are specifically serum iron, ferritin, transferrin saturation& and TIBC.
Iron overload (hemochromatosis) is the most common genetic disorder among European descent and most rarely diagnosed. It cause diabetes, cirrhosis, heart failure, and leaves a person vulnerable to infection and viruses.
I know I have so much to learn about the disorder my husband has, I am only trying to spread a little awareness regarding some underlying disorder the dr may be missing, as they did in our case, and many others.
Thanks for the info. In hemochromatosis the degree of liver damage determines the prognosis. Patients with severe liver tissue scarring (cirrhosis) and diabetes appear to have a shorter life expectancy. Otherwise life expectancy is normal.
Hi there, in hemochromatosis, the degree of iron accumulation in all organs, joints, tissues, not just the liver, leading to many other diseases like diabetes and cirrhosis and heart failure, determines the outcome.
A person's life expectancy depends on detection and treatment of the iron overload...when not detected in early stages to prevent further damage and disease life expectancy is greatly reduced.
Cirrhosis is only one of the complications/results of iron overload. There are many, and some early results of iron accumulation can be NASH and NAFLD, which some people are not aware of. My husband is not obese, not overweight, yet was diagnosed with fatty liver, and although there are other underlying conditions that cause fatty liver, I wanted to let people also know about iron accumulation as ONE of the reasons someone could be diagnosed with that.
Having hemochromatosis that is undetected and untreated WILL shorten a life expectancy due to organ damage of heart, liver, pancreas, and others. This is a serious disorder. Life expectancy is normal when it is detected and treated in a timely fashion.
Thanks for your input, Dr. Appreciate your feedback.
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