Haemochromatosis UK aims are to support those with haemochromatosis and those at risk, to educate patients, families, the wider public and healthcare community about the condition in order to raise awareness of haemochromatosis and to stimulate research into the condition and its impact on people’s lives.
Genetic haemochromatosis (also known as “GH”) is a condition where a person absorbs too much iron from the diet (they are said to “load iron”). The body cannot naturally get rid of the extra iron – other than through menstruation in women. The extra iron is stored in the organs and soft tissues – this is haemochromatosis or “iron overload”.
Haemochromatosis can be caused by a number of things, but when it occurs in people with certain gene mutations, it is called genetic haemochromatosis (sometimes referred to as “HH” – Hereditary Haemochromatosis). There are several genes that when mutated may cause iron overload and by far the most common in the UK is the “HFE” gene.
Not everyone with the gene mutations involved in genetic haemochromatosis will load iron or have damage to their bodies. People who have the genes but do not load iron are said to be “predisposed” to genetic haemochromatosis, rather than actually having genetic haemochromatosis. They may never go on to load iron but continue to be at risk. It is important, therefore, that their iron levels are regularly monitored.
People who have the genes, and who load iron, might not experience symptoms or damage to their bodies. The human body can cope well with some extra iron. Damage usually only occurs when there is a large amount of stored iron and it takes many years for this to build up. However, people who do not experience any symptoms could be loading iron at damaging levels. It is important that everyone who is loading iron receives treatment to reduce the iron stored in their body.
Haemochromatosis UK and NCIMI
Haemochromatosis UK has partnered with NCIMI (National Consortium of Intelligent Medical Imaging) to investigate the role that AI can play in medical imaging.
To learn more about them please visit their website.
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