Hemochromatosis is a disease that causes too much iron to build up in your body, which is problematic because excessive iron damages your organs, especially your liver, your heart, and your pancreas. An estimated one million people in the United States suffer from this condition.
Fortunately, if hemochromatosis is diagnosed early on, it can be treated before serious complications arise. Read on to learn more about this condition, including risk factors, signs and symptoms, and where and how to get hemochromatosis tests.
There are two types of hemochromatosis, primary and secondary. Primary hemochromatosis is a genetic condition, meaning it is caused by a mutation in your genes. This type of hemochromatosis is passed down from family members.
Secondary hemochromatosis is caused by excessive amounts of iron in your body. This type of hemochromatosis is not as common, and it can't be detected through a hemochromatosis DNA test.
Risk Factors of Hemochromatosis
The HFE gene is the primary cause of genetic hemochromatosis. If you have two abnormal genes, one from each parent, you are more likely to develop hemochromatosis.
Not everyone who has two abnormal genes develops the condition. Even if you have two abnormal genes and do not develop hemochromatosis, you may still pass the condition down to your children. If you are worried about passing an HFE gene abnormality onto a child, you may want to consider speaking with a genetic counselor.
If you have one abnormal gene, it is possible, but unlikely, that you will ever develop hemochromatosis. You can pass that gene on to your children, but they will not be considered at high risk unless your partner also carries an abnormal gene.
While anyone can suffer from hemochromatosis, males are at a higher risk for developing it than females. Caucasians, particularly those from Northern Europe, are also at a higher risk than other ethnic groups.
Because iron is stored in your blood, people who are required to have regular blood transfusions are at risk of developing secondary hemochromatosis. A person would rarely develop secondary hemochromatosis from diet alone. However, people who are taking iron supplements are also at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemochromatosis
Symptoms of hemochromatosis can vary by person and in severity. They may include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Bronze or gray skin color
- Heart or liver failure
- Joint Pain
- Loss of sex drive or impotence in men
- Memory fog and fatigue
The early signs of hemochromatosis are fatigue, abdominal and joint pain, and a change in skin color or complexion. Since they are mild, they are often overlooked or attributed to other conditions. Conditions such as diabetes and heart and liver failure don't arise unless hemochromatosis has gone undiagnosed and untreated for a considerable length of time. If you know you have some of the risk factors listed above, it is a good idea to stay on top of your health and get tested before serious problems arise.
Treatment for Hemochromatosis
Treatment for hemochromatosis can involve changes to your diet, including discontinuing iron supplements. You may also be prescribed certain medications or need to undergo regular phlebotomy to remove blood to keep your iron levels in check.
If you know that one or both of your parents suffers from hemochromatosis or has inherited a gene for the condition, it is a good idea to do a hemochromatosis DNA test. If left untreated, the complications from hemochromatosis are severe, so staying on top of the condition is strongly recommended.
A DNA test will tell you if you have one or both gene abnormalities for hemochromatosis, but a positive test doesn’t mean you have hemochromatosis. Not everyone who has both gene abnormalities develops the condition.
There are several ways to obtain a hemochromatosis DNA test, but the simplest way is to order one online. Ulta Lab Tests offers two types of hemochromatosis tests. These tests can even identify other family members who are at risk.
In addition to DNA tests, blood tests that measure the amount of iron in your blood are also used to diagnose hemochromatosis. A total iron-binding capacity (TIBC test) shows your total iron levels and how well your body carries or transports iron throughout your body. It can assist your healthcare provider in diagnosing hemochromatosis.
Two other lab tests that help diagnose hemochromatosis are a transferrin lab test and a ferritin lab test. High ferritin levels can indicate hemochromatosis. It is always a good idea to share your test results with your healthcare provider, even if your levels are within a normal range.
Benefits of Hemochromatosis Lab Testing with Ulta Lab Tests
There are several benefits to ordering your lab test through Ulta Lab Tests. First, tests from Ulta Lab Tests are more affordable than going through a doctor’s office. This is because we keep overhead costs low, so we can pass the savings directly along to our customers.
Another advantage is that your test results will come quickly, within one to two business days for most tests. They will be delivered directly to your patient portal. You do not need an insurance card or a doctor’s referral to order a test which saves you time and money.
If you are not sure which test to order, Ulta Lab Tests offers live customer support. They can answer any questions you may have. All tests also come with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so there is no risk in ordering.
Ordering Your Tests with Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable so you can make informed decisions about your health.
• You'll get secure and confidential results
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Order your hemochromatosis lab tests today and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.
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