Symptoms of hemochromatosis


During its initial stages hemochromatosis manifests itself in barely noticeable symptoms. The affected person usually does not realise that they are sick. Often many years go by until symptoms are evident and a diagnosis is made. The first symptoms of hemochromatosis normally appear between the ages of 30 and 50 in men, and after menopause in women, as blood and with it iron is excreted through menstruation. First signs of the disorder are constant tiredness, unexplained pain in the upper stomach and joint pain, especially in the interphalangeal joints of the index and middle fingers (but other joints can also be affected). The accumulation of iron in the liver first causes an increase in connective tissue in the liver (= liver fibrosis) and then can develop into scarring of the liver (= liver cirrhosis). Skin problems, hormonal imbalances, diabetes and heart complications are relatively rare and depend on the type of hemochromatosis. Overview of the above symptoms:
  • Tiredness, weakness, pain in the upper stomach
  • Joint pain, especially in the interphalangeal joints of the index and middle fingers
  • Dark skin pigmentation on areas exposed to the sun, later bronze tones
  • Symptoms of diabetes such as constant thirst, frequent urination, weight loss
  • Impotence, change and absence of menstruation
  • Symptoms of heart disease such as shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat