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Question
Posted by: Pieter | 2009/11/18

Suspected hereditary Heamachromatosis

Hi Doctor,

My brother(40) has recently been diagnosed with high blood iron content, and so has my father(65). I' m male, 29. From what I understand from the internet it is called hereditary haemochromatosis. I have read quite a bit about it now, and am quite shocked at how serious it could be.

I have had occasional heart palpitations since I can remember and have had it looked at twice. Once at about 15 (ECG done) and once at about 25 when it suddenly started happening more frequently over a few hours and I immediately went to the emergency room. On both occasions they basically told me there' s no danger - it just happens to some people. It' s the premature atrial/vertricular contraction type (meaning a single occasional ' thump'  and it continues normally - I derived this from the internet) and happens about 3-5 times (thumps) per day. (don' t know if this is relevant: On the second occasion it turned out that i had high BP 140/110 - I was panicking? - the next morning it was 130/90, which they gave me a pill for, sent me home and told me to lose weight. Which i did, and bought my own BP monitor and bought my BP down to 120/80 these days. My cholestorol reading was 4.36 in February.)

I see that one of the symptoms of HH can be palpitations, and ischemic heart disease. I have no symptoms apart from palpitations.

What I would like to know is could HH have been the cause of the palpitations all along? My brother or father haven' t gone for phlebotomies (as treatment for HH), so I am hoping it' s not that bad. I am thinking of having en ECG and blood test for Iron done just to have everything checked out and put my mind to rest or get the correct treatmen.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Kind Regards,
Pieter

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Hallo Pieter
Hemochromatosis usually only starts giving symptoms later in life but it is hereditary so yes, I think you should have yourself tested, and do this every 3 years at least. Doing an ECG is not a bad idea, although you probably have paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia which normally is not dangerous.
Dr Bets

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Our users say:
Posted by: cyberdoc | 2009/11/18

Hallo Pieter
Hemochromatosis usually only starts giving symptoms later in life but it is hereditary so yes, I think you should have yourself tested, and do this every 3 years at least. Doing an ECG is not a bad idea, although you probably have paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia which normally is not dangerous.
Dr Bets

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