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Pop Quiz: Hemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis (called iron storage disease) occurs when the body absorbs too much iron from foods and other sources, such as vitamins containing iron. This disease causes extra iron to gradually build up in the body’s tissues and organs, a term called iron overload. If this iron buildup is not treated, it can, over many years, damage the body’s organs.

CDC’s Work

Online Training for Healthcare Providers

CDC developed an online training course for health care providers entitled Hemochromatosis: What every clinician and health care professional needs to know. In this course, providers can learn more about the pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients with adult onset hemochromatosis. To access this course, please visit the Training and Education page.

Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment of Hemochromatosis

Diagnosing hemochromatosis is difficult because there are no symptoms that occur only in people with hemochromatosis and there is no specific laboratory test to diagnose the condition. To learn more, CDC has funded the Medical University of South Carolina to survey more than 5,000 adults who have been diagnosed with hemochromatosis. The primary study objectives are:

  • To learn about the circumstances that lead to someone being diagnosed with hemochromatosis. This includes symptoms, laboratory tests, family history, and other factors.
  • To assess the types of treatment that people receive for hemochromatosis and how they respond to treatment.

The goal of this study is to understand more about diagnosing hemochromatosis so that people with the condition are diagnosed sooner. CDC will also use these survey results to develop education materials for health care providers and for people and families affected by hemochromatosis.

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