Blood test to check for ‘Celtic curse’
AROUND 22,000 people in Ireland may be suffering from a genetic disorder causing dangerous levels of iron overload.
Known as the ‘Celtic curse’, Ireland has the highest levels of haemochromatosis in the world.
Symptoms can include chronic fatigue, joint pain, diabetes, irregular heartbeat, enlarged liver and loss of sex drive.
A simple blood test to check your iron status can confirm or rule out iron overload.
The accumulated iron affects the liver, heart, pancreas, endocrine glands and joints, leading to impaired function of these organs and eventually to disease and organ failure.
As many as one in 83 Irish people are predisposed to iron overload, while one in five are carriers of the gene.
The treatment is simple and effective. It involves the removal of blood and is similar to blood donation.
One of the risks is cirrhosis of the liver so early diagnosis is critical.