The human body functions in a delicate system. A minor change can lead to a deadly infection or disease in your body. Having too much of anything is never good for you. Everything has to be at a proper and balanced level.
Similarly, your body organs can absorb certain nutrients and vitamins for optimal function. Your intestines absorb the right level of iron from the food you eat. However, if it begins to absorb too much iron, more than it can store in your intestines, it can lead to metabolic disorder.
Absorbing excessive iron leads to an uncontrollable accumulation of iron in your blood. You can’t get rid of it. As a result, it can seriously damage your liver, pancreas, brain, heart, and other vital body organs. A haemochromatosis test can help you take the necessary steps. Read this guide to understand what causes haemochromatosis and how to diagnose it.
What is Haemochromatosis?
A haemochromatosis, commonly known as iron overload, is a metabolic disorder in which your body stores too much iron. The build-up of iron causes severe damage to your body organs if left untreated.
What is Haemochromatosis Test?
The haemochromatosis test is a collection of different medical exams that measure the iron levels in your blood for any abnormality. The tests for diagnosing iron overload in your body include the following tests;
Depending on your symptoms and personal and family medical history, a doctor may ask you to go for either of these blood tests.
- Transferrin Saturation – It is a blood test that measures iron levels in your blood.
- Serum Ferritin – Ferritin is a protein substance in your body that stores the iron in your blood. The serum ferritin blood test gauges the amount of ferritin in your blood to check iron levels.
Genetic testing for iron overload is only recommended if your family has a medical history of any of these conditions;
- Pancreatic or liver cancer
- Heart failure
- Skin discolouration
The gene DNA test examines your blood or saliva sample to address any gene mutations in your blood that could be responsible for iron overload. This test is handy for those doing family planning.
Your liver is the first and most common place to store all the iron in your body. Hence, liver biopsy is a reliable haemochromatosis test that shows the accurate iron levels in your liver.
The test includes inserting a needle into your liver and collecting a small tissue sample for examination.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a screening test where radio waves take an inside snapshot of your body organs for deeper examination. The MRI screening looks for iron overload in these body organs;
Who Should Go for Haemochromatosis Test?
The tests for haemochromatosis are not limited to those who notice a significant increase in iron levels in their blood. You can also go for these tests if you only want to maintain a healthy body. But here is a list of people who should consider going for this test;
- People aged 30 to 60
- Women reaching their menopause
- Men with erectile dysfunction
- Starting a family
- Personal medical history of any cancer
- Family history of hereditary haemochromatosis
- Family history of cancer
Iron overload is an underlying metabolic disorder. It gradually builds up in your body and shows symptoms after years – mostly when you are over 30. As a result, it is wise to go for regular iron screening.