Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hemochromatosis

So today I found out I've got the genetic mutation for hemochromatosis. It's a mutation on the sixth chromosome, and I don't have any details like, which mutation is it (there are a couple, and one is worse than the other), is it on both chromosomes, etc., but I do know I have it so I gave the vampires at the hospital more blood today (good thing I'm not afraid of needles) so they can run more liver tests to see if I've got iron overload. This thing basically makes your organs absorb too much iron, which damages them over time.

One of the possible symptoms listed on this site is "Setting off metal detectors for no apparent reason." That sounds kind of fun ("No, seriously! Nothing but cotton!"). I didn't pay much attention to the magnetic science portion of high school, so I don't know if I could also use my forehead as a portable magnetic message board, but I'm hoping so.



And, no wonder I always find myself pointing north! (ba dum dum)

It can also turn your skin bronze, which is kind of cool because I could throw out my bottles of sunless tanning lotion.

But really, I'm not going to get any of the cool side effects. I probably don't have the organ damage yet, and fortunately, I probably won't get it because the treatment is really easy and effective - bloodletting. No kidding. Women are usually not diagnosed until menopause because you know, they bleed monthly. Men don't, so they get diagnosed earlier, if at all. People with hemochromotosis sometimes have to give blood several times a week until they get their iron saturation levels down. Bring on the leeches!

The biggest bummer about this disease is that I may very well have passed it on to my boys, and they're at risk for organ damage, cancer (apparently cancer loves iron - who knew?) and heart disease if they have the mutation and aren't successful at keeping their iron levels down. That part bothers me.

3 comments:

LemonySarah said...

Yipe!

Ruta said...

Colleen -- I'm so sorry. Would really like to talk about this with you, sent you a PM thru facebook.

W.Pat said...

I have hemochromatosis too.
It's a hassle. Plenty of information on my hemo blog:
http://ironoverload.info

 
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