- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Hemochromatosis
Treatment is simple, inexpensive, and safe.
The first step is to rid the body of excess iron. The process is called phlebotomy. This means removing blood. The schedule will depend on how severe the iron overload is. A pint of blood will be taken once or twice a week for several months to a year. It may last longer. Once iron levels return to normal, maintenance therapy is given. A pint of blood is given every 2 to 4 months for life. Some people may need it more often. Female patients may need to increase their schedule after menopause.
These include steps to reduce the amount of iron you consume and/or absorb, and to help protect your liver:
- Do not eat red meat or raw shellfish.
- Do not take vitamin C supplements.
- Do not take iron supplements.
- Avoid alcohol.
Treating Associated Medical Conditions
You may need to be treated for other conditions that have developed. Hemochromatosis can cause these to develop:
- Liver cirrhosis
- Heart failure