Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Training & Education - Pathophysiology

graphic of iron processing in body

Assessment of patients with vague, non-specific symptoms (e.g., fatigue, weakness, and arthralgia) presents a challenge to the primary care professional. A possible underlying cause, iron overload, is often missed.

Early detection of iron overload and hemochromatosis treatment can delay or prevent irreversible complications and prolong life.


"Following discovery of the hereditary hemochromatosis gene known as HFE, the significance of genes in hemochromatosis was overstated by researchers and advocacy groups alike. Witness the claim: “hemochromatosis is the most common genetic disease known…” Actually, hemochromatosis is not the most common genetic disease known; rather it is a disease that illustrates the limitations of genetic testing. For example, the HFE genetic test is unlikely to be cost effective for large scale screening for hemochromatosis. Genetic testing should not distract people from the fundamental principle that hemochromatosis is about iron."


David G. Brooks, MD, PhD
Division of Medical Genetics
Department of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

Content in this module includes:

  • Iron overload and its relation to hemochromatosis.
  • HFE gene mutations affect on iron absorption.
  • Hereditary hemochromatosis.

back Home return to top Iron Overload next


Learn More about Health Insurance Market Place

CDC 24/7 – Saving Lives. Protecting People. Saving Money Through Prevention. Learn More About How CDC Works For You…
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

    Division of Blood Disorders

    1600 Clifton Road
    MS E-87
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO