What are the symptoms?

Iron builds up slowly so symptoms may not appear until age 30 or 40. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Chronic fatigue         (weakness, feeling tired all the time)

  • Abdominal pain        (stomach region)

  • Impotence                 (loss of sex drive)

  • Arthritis                     (joint pain often first finger knuckle)

  • Diabetes                    (insulin-dependent type 11)

  • Liver disease             (enlarged, cirrhosis, abnormal liver functiontests)

  • Cardiomyopathy       (disease of the heart muscle)

  • Skin pigmentation    (permanent tan)

  • Neurological/psychiatric disorders; impaired memory, mood swings, severe irritability, depression.

    Most of these symptoms can be found in other medical conditions or evenjust the stresses of modernlife. This can make haemochromatosis difficult to diagnose.

    But when arthritis affects the first two finger joints, it is highly suggestive of haemochromatosis. These symptoms, if present, take time to develop and people often do not notice what is happening for a long time.   No two people are alike and symptoms will vary from person to person.   Some people never develop any symptoms at all.