Definition of hemochromatosis


Hemochromatosis, or iron overload disorder, is the most common genetic disease of the Western world. As a result of increased iron absorption in the upper small intestine the body is overloaded with iron. In healthy people up to two milligrams of iron are absorbed per day, which covers loss of iron through sweat, digestion and urination. Patients with hemochromatosis, on the other hand, absorb three to four milligrams of iron per day. Due to this more, and more iron is accumulated in the body resulting in increasing deposit of iron. The excess iron accumulates mainly in the liver, joints, pancreas, heart and pituitary gland and harms these organs.