Find out if you are at risk - get tested
Why get tested?
Hemochromatosis is a very common condition that can cause serious complications later in life if not detected and treated early enough. Due to the prevalence of hereditary hemochromatosis in families of European descent, testing for the mutations that cause hemochromatosis can allow the disease to be detected early, before the onset of symptoms. If detected early, effective treatments exist to prevent complications later in life.
Early Detection Can Prevent Future Complications
Since hemochromatosis is treatable if detected early, screening for hemochromatosis can prevent potentially fatal complications from occurring. DNA testing for hemochromatosis is fast, simple and inexpensive.
The best time to get tested is before 30 years of age, so that the disease can be detected before organ damage occurs. When detected and treated early, there is a good chance of avoiding life-threatening complications of iron build up in the body later in life. If any family members test positive for hemochromatosis, other family members should also be tested.
Who should consider testing?
Individuals wishing to start a family may also consider testing to determine the likelihood that they will pass a defective HFE gene on to their children.
Testing for hemochromatosis is particularly important for individuals who have any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Liver disease
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Unexplained joint pain
- Severe fatigue
- Heart disease
- Swelling of liver and spleen
- A relative who has tested positive a defective HFE gene
- Abnormal serum iron test results
- Unexplained liver enlargement
- A CT scan that shows thinning or weakening of the tissue of the liver
- Skin that gets darker for no obvious reason.