For World Haemochromatosis Week (1st - 7th June), national charity Haemochromatosis UK are organising a series of special events, bringing together people affected from around the world with NHS clinicians to share experiences and learn from each other.

To mark the beginning of World Haemochromatosis Week, Cardiff Castle will be floodlit in "Haemochromatosis UK red" overnight on 1st June. Pop down to see the illuminations from 8pm on Tuesday.

In Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph will be running a public awareness campaign.

Over 30 hospitals around the country will be running awareness events for public and clinicians, supported by specialist venesection nurses and healthcare practitioners.

What is genetic haemochromatosis?

It’s tricky to say, impossible to spell. Most people have never heard of genetic haemochromatosis.  Yet it's the UK's most common genetic condition. Although it’s commonplace, the condition is rarely diagnosed – symptoms can be vague and readily confused for general tiredness and fatigue. Just 1 in 20 people at risk are aware of their condition. 

Untreated, genetic haemochromatosis can lead to iron overload, where the body is unable to process excess iron. Excess iron is extremely toxic. Genetic haemochromatosis can cause liver disease, cancer, heart disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, severe joint pain, sexual health issues and neurological issues.

What are the symptoms?

There are several common symptoms of genetic haemochromatosis/iron overload. They can be easily confused for other conditions or ageing.

Common early symptoms of iron overload caused by genetic haemochromatosis include :

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Joint pain – especially in the first two fingers of either hand
  • Liver disorders – enlarged liver, cirrhosis or liver cancer
  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Bronzing (unnatural tan or grey) of skin

Early diagnosis saves lives. 

Where can I find further information?

Follow us on social media for updates throughout the week!