It seems that I have haemochromatosis. It’s a genetic disorder causing the body to absorb an excessive amount of iron from food. The excess iron is deposited in various joints and organs throughout the body, in particular, the liver. If it is not managed or treated, damage to the liver, heart and other organs is likely; I’m fortunate that it has been found in good time.
Haemochromatosis is tricky to diagnose as the symptoms are common to a range of problems. Its presence must be confirmed by blood test and genetic tests.
My case is a mild one, as I have just one copy of one the implicated genes. But it means as near to an iron free diet as possible for the rest of my life. No lamb, no steak, no red meat at all. Sigh.
Fortunately I like chicken and fish and soy; I could be quite happy as a vegetarian. And a low meat diet is good for my green credentials! Studies in several countries have shown a prevalence for haemochromatosis of 1 in 400 in Caucasians and as high as 1 in 80 for people of Celtic ancestry. And I’m Anglo-Celtic.