Blood test to check for ‘Celtic curse’

Irish Independent - Health & Living - - UPDATE DID YOU -

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.

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