Hemosiderosis vs Hemochromatosis – Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

Learn Hemosiderosis vs Hemochromatosis difference , definition, symptoms, causes, treatment. and diets

Both conditions are caused by high iron levels (iron overload) due to too much iron in blood. But to make the difference between Hemosiderosis and Hemochromatosis clear, let’s look at what is what is hemochromatosis and hemosiderosis.

Whats is Hemosiderosis?

Hemosiderosis is a focal deposition of iron that does not cause tissue damage. In hemosiderosis usually the lungs are affected, and the cause usually is recurrent pulmonary hemorrhage, either idiopathic or due to chronic pulmonary hypertension.
Another common site of accumulation is the kidneys, where hemosiderosis can result from extensive intravascular hemolysis.

Whats is Hemochromatosis?

Hemochromatosis is a tissue damaging iron excess disease. It occurs when the body absorbs too much iron from foods and other sources (such as vitamins and supplements) containing iron. In hemochromatosis glands and organs, including the liver, heart, pituitary, thyroid, pancreas, synovium, joints and bone marrow get burdened with excess iron so these cannot function properly.

Free hemoglobin(Hb) is filtered at the glomerulus, resulting in iron deposition in the kidneys. The renal parenchyma is not damaged, but severe hemosiderinuria may result in iron deficiency.

Hemosiderosis vs Hemochromatosis - Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

Hemosiderosis and Hemochromatosis – Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

Hemosiderosisis local in nature and can result from hemorrhage within an organ. Iron liberated from extravasated RBCs is deposited within that organ, and significant hemosiderin deposits may eventually develop. Occasionally, iron loss due to tissue hemorrhage causes iron deficiency anemia because iron in tissues cannot be reused.

Hemochromatosis causes extra iron to gradually build up in the body’s tissues and organs, a term called iron overload. If this iron buildup is not treated, it can, over many years, damage the body’s organs.

Hemosiderosis vs Hemochromatosis Sign and Symptoms

Some people with hereditary hemochromatosis never have symptoms. Many symptoms of hemochromatosis are similar to those of other diseases. Chronic fatigue and joint pain are the most common complaints of people with hemochromatosis.

Pain in the knuckles of the pointer and middle finger, collectively called The Iron Fist is the only sign or symptom specific to hemochromatosis. However, not everyone with HHC experiences the Iron Fist.

Hemosiderosis Symptoms

The main symptoms of pulmonary hemosiderosis include

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Lung damage
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing problems
  • Runny nose
  • Failure to thrive
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy

Hemochromatosis Symptoms

As iron builds up in the body organs, hemochromatosis may also produce the following symptoms:

  • Loss of menstrual periods or early menopause
  • Loss of sex drive (libido) or impotence
  • Loss of body hair
  • Shortness of breath
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Liver failure
  • Lack of energy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Memory fog

Hereditary hemochromatosis is present at birth. But, most people don’t experience signs and symptoms until later in life. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 50 and 60 in men and after age 60 in women. Women are more likely to develop symptoms after menopause, when they no longer lose iron with menstruation and pregnancy.

The symptoms may begin slowly or appear suddenly. If the condition develops slowly, symptoms such as chronic fatigue, a persistent cough, runny nose, wheezing, and delayed growth may occur. A person who suffers a major hemorrhage may turn pale and possibly lose consciousness. The heartbeat may initially race but then slow to a dangerous level. If hemosiderosis becomes a frequent or chronic problem, a person can experience symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, such as extreme fatigue, severe headaches, and irritability.

Hemosiderosis and Hemochromatosis Causes

Hemochromatosis is hereditary. In order to have the disease, a patient must have inherited two defective genes, one from each parent.
Hemosiderosis may occur due to the following causes:

  • Hereditary
  • Iron compounds
  • GRACILE syndrome
  • Ineffective erythropoiesis
  • Blood transfusion and complications
  • Ceruloplasmin deficiency
  • Heiner syndrome
  • Idiopathic hemosiderosis

Hemosiderosis, Hemochromatosis Diagnosis

Many people with hemochromatosisdon’t have any signs or symptoms other than elevated levels of iron in their blood. Hemochromatosis may be identified because of abnormal blood tests. Other tests includes

  • Liver function tests
  • MRI
  • Testing for gene mutations
  • Removing a sample of liver tissue for testing (liver biopsy)

A specialist can diagnose hemosiderosis by asking about symptoms and medical history and checking blood samples for signs of anemia.

Chest x-rays and computerized tomography scans are taken to look for active pulmonary hemorrhages and sections of scar tissue where bleeding has occurred in the past.

Hemosiderosis vs Hemochromatosis Treatment

The treatment of choice for hemochromatosis is phlebotomy. Phlebotomy is the removal of blood from your body. You may need phlebotomy on a regular basis to remove excess iron. When you first begin the treatments, you’ll have them up to twice a week.

After the initial treatments, you may come back four to six times per year.
For people who refuse phlebotomy, a chelating drug may be used. This type of drug can be injected by a physician or taken by pill. It helps your body expel excess iron in your urine and stool. This treatment is also used for people with heart complications and other contraindications for phlebotomy.

Hemosiderosis treatments focus on respiratory therapy, oxygen, immunosuppression, and blood transfusions to address severe anemia. If hemosiderosis is due to another disorder, treating the underlying condition can reduce bleeding.

Corticosteroids may help people whose only symptom is bleeding in their lungs, with no other determined causes or secondary disease. Immunosuppressive drugs can also be a treatment option. However, studies are still examining how effective they are long-term.

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