Hereditary haemochromatosis is a disorder of iron metabolism in which dietary iron absorption exceeds body needs. The iron accumulates in organs and tissue. If not diagnosed and treated, the accumulating iron may result in one or more complications such as liver enlargement, heart irregularities and failure, diabetes and other hormonal deficiencies and arthritis.
Haemochromatosis is one of the most common abnormal genes. It is recessively inherited, with one out of 8 people being a carrier (with one gene but with normal metabolism) and one in 200 having both genes - this person has the potential for full blown hemochromatosis at some point during his/her life, childhood to adulthood.