When you eat food, several systems in your body gather various nutrients and vitamins for use. Hemochromatosis occurs when your body absorbs too much iron and starts storing the excess in organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas. As a result, your body becomes susceptible to dangerous conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Hemochromatosis is genetic. In most cases, the genes responsible do not start causing problems until you reach your early or late 50s. Doctors often watch people with a family history of the disease closely for early symptoms of hemochromatosis, which can include joint and abdominal pain and fatigue. Once the condition has started, the only treatment is regular replenishing of the blood that carries the excess iron to the organs.
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HFE is the gene that causes hemochromatosis, and to be affected, the individual must have received the gene from both parents. If a child only inherits one HFE gene, then that child will not develop the disease, but will be a carrier and could pass the disease to their child if their future partner also has the HFE gene.
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