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Hemochromatosis Treatment

Hemochromatosis Treatment

Treatment for hemochromatosis involves removing the iron from your body, called a phlebotomy.

Phlebotomy

During a phlebotomy, your doctor removes approximately one unit of blood, which is one-half liter. You undergo phlebotomy once a week until your iron level returns to normal. This could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, depending on the iron levels at the time of diagnosis.

Once your iron level is normal, you will continue to need phlebotomy but at less frequent intervals. Usually, men require phlebotomy three to four times a year; women need it one to two times per year. This continues throughout your life.

Phlebotomy technique
Phlebotomy technique (Click to Enlarge)

Continuing Care

To help maintain normal iron levels, you should:

  • Avoid iron supplements

  • Restrict your vitamin C and ethanol intake

  • Avoid raw shellfish

If hemochromatosis caused advanced cirrhosis, then liver transplantation may be necessary.

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