The Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.
Brief Description: The Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test is a genetic test that identifies specific mutations in the HFE gene associated with hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), a condition characterized by excessive iron absorption from the digestive tract.
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Blood
Test Preparation: No preparation required
When and Why a Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis Test May Be Ordered
This test is typically ordered when:
- An individual presents with symptoms consistent with hereditary hemochromatosis, such as fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, and skin darkening.
- Routine blood tests reveal elevated iron levels or iron saturation.
- An individual has a family history of hemochromatosis or iron overload.
- As a confirmatory test when other tests suggest hemochromatosis.
- When there's a need to identify asymptomatic family members who might be carriers of the gene mutation.
What a Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis Test Checks For
This test looks for specific mutations in the HFE gene, most commonly the C282Y and H63D mutations. The presence of these mutations, especially in a homozygous form (two copies of the mutation), increases the risk of developing HH.
Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside a Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis Test
When suspecting hereditary hemochromatosis, a healthcare provider may also order:
- Serum Iron and Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC): To evaluate the amount of iron in the blood and its binding capacity.
- Serum Ferritin: Indicates the amount of stored iron in the body.
- Transferrin Saturation: Measures the percentage of transferrin that is saturated with iron.
- Liver Function Tests: As iron overload can affect the liver, these tests can help determine liver health.
Conditions or Diseases Requiring a Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis Test
- Hereditary Hemochromatosis (HH): This is the primary condition diagnosed through this test. It is a genetic disorder where the body absorbs too much iron from the food, leading to iron overload in various organs.
How Health Care Providers Use the Results of a Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis Test
- Diagnosis: If an individual is found to have two copies of the C282Y mutation or one C282Y and one H63D mutation, they are at a higher risk for expressing the features of HH.
- Risk Assessment: Carriers (those with only one mutation) may be identified, and while they typically don't develop HH, they are at a slightly increased risk for iron overload. They can pass the mutation onto their offspring.
- Family Planning: Couples can understand the risk of passing the condition to their children.
- Guidance for Family Members: As HH is a hereditary condition, family members might also benefit from genetic testing, especially if one family member has been positively identified.
After a positive result, a comprehensive approach, including regular monitoring of iron levels, therapeutic phlebotomy (removal of blood to reduce iron levels), and other supportive care, will be recommended to manage and prevent complications associated with iron overload.
Most Common Questions About the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test:
Purpose and Clinical Indications
Why is the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test ordered?
The Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test is primarily ordered when a person has symptoms suggestive of hemochromatosis or when someone has elevated iron levels in their blood. Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron, leading to iron overload. This test identifies mutations in the HFE gene, which are commonly associated with the disease.
How does the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test assist in diagnosing hemochromatosis?
The Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test is a genetic test that identifies specific mutations in the HFE gene, particularly C282Y and H63D, which are commonly associated with hereditary hemochromatosis. A positive result for one or both of these mutations, especially when seen in combination with clinical symptoms and elevated iron levels, strongly suggests a diagnosis of hemochromatosis.
Interpretation of Results
What do positive results in the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test mean?
A positive result in the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test indicates the presence of one or more mutations in the HFE gene that are associated with hemochromatosis. The most common mutations are C282Y and H63D. Homozygosity for C282Y (having two copies of this mutation) is highly associated with clinical expression of the disease. However, possessing the mutation(s) doesn't guarantee the development of hemochromatosis, as other factors, both genetic and environmental, play a role.
Can someone be a carrier of the hemochromatosis mutation without having the disease?
Yes, an individual can carry a single copy of the C282Y or H63D mutation and not show symptoms of hemochromatosis. Such individuals are considered carriers and may potentially pass the mutation to their offspring. While carriers typically don't develop full-blown hemochromatosis, they might have slightly increased iron levels.
How do the results of the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test influence clinical management?
If a patient has a positive Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test, particularly if they are homozygous for the C282Y mutation, it indicates a high risk of iron overload. As a result, clinical management might include regular monitoring of iron levels, therapeutic phlebotomy to reduce iron levels if elevated, dietary counseling to limit iron intake, and avoidance of vitamin C supplements, which increase iron absorption.
What other tests might be ordered alongside the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test?
Alongside the Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test, healthcare providers might order serum iron, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), ferritin, and transferrin saturation tests. These tests help provide a comprehensive view of iron levels and storage in the body, aiding in both diagnosis and ongoing management of potential hemochromatosis.
Relationships with Other Health Conditions
Are there other conditions that might produce elevated iron levels besides hemochromatosis?
Yes, while hereditary hemochromatosis is a primary cause of elevated iron levels due to a genetic mutation, there are other conditions that can lead to increased iron in the body. These conditions include multiple blood transfusions, chronic liver diseases, certain types of anemia, and other rare genetic disorders. It's essential to differentiate between these conditions and hereditary hemochromatosis, as the management and implications differ.
Can a person with a positive Hereditary Hemochromatosis DNA Mutation Analysis test develop other health issues due to iron overload?
Yes, if left untreated, iron overload from hereditary hemochromatosis can lead to a variety of health problems, including liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, and skin discoloration. Early detection and management are crucial to prevent these complications and ensure a better quality of life for the individual.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.