Description of the Disease: Hereditary Hemochromatosis. Research Paper Example.

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Sewanee University of the South
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Research paper
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By definition, nutritional diseases are any form of nutrient related conditions that cause illness to humans. In this regard, hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that is characterized by excessive accumulation of iron in the body or better referred to as iron overload. According to the World Health Organization, hereditary hemochromatosis affects an approximate of 1 to 6 people in the United States, and it is known to common among the Caucasians living in the United States. Unlike many hereditary disorders, individuals suffering from this particular disorder may fail to experience any symptoms or signs of the disease. However, in sporadic cases, patients can have severe iron overload related signs and symptoms such as joint pains, liver cirrhosis, fatigue, sexual dysfunction among others (Griffiths and William).

Causes of the Disease

Hereditary hemochromatosis is often considered primary or secondary concerning its causes. For instance, primary hemochromatosis is primarily caused by a defect in the genes which control the amount of iron that is absorbed from food into the human body. According to a research study done by the Mayo Clinic, primary hemochromatosis is more common than the secondary form of the disease. Usually, the genes that are involved with this disorder are known as the HFE genes. Particularly, when the HFE genes are considered faulty, they cause the body to absorb too much iron from the food consumed. Clark, Britton et al., contend that individuals who inherit two copies of the faulty HFE genes, specifically from both parents, are usually at higher risks of iron overload and its related signs and symptoms as compared to those with just a single copy (Mayo Clinic Staff).

Secondary hemochromatosis, on the other hand, is as a result of other disease and conditions that cause iron overload. Some of these diseases are such as chronic liver diseases, aceruloplasminemia, long-term kidney dialysis, and certain types of anemia.

Health Complications

Similar to many disorders, if left untreated, hereditary hemochromatosis can damage various body organs and joints and can eventually become fatal. Besides, modern day research has it that, undiagnosed or even untreated hereditary hemochromatosis can bring about health complications such as increasing the risks of diseases and conditions such as diabetes mellitus, infertility, arthritis, irregular heart beat and heart attacks, among many others.


According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH), it is impossible to prevent the primary or inherited hemochromatosis. Nonetheless, research has it that not every person who inherits the disorder genes develops the symptoms and health complications of the disease. For those patients who develop signs and symptoms, health professionals contend that the right form of treatment can prevent worsening of the disorder.

Treatment Options

After diagnosis, is treated through phlebotomy, which involves getting rid of excess iron in the body and to also maintain normal iron levels in the body. Besides, Duchini contends that the primary goal of the disorders therapy is to remove the excessive amount of iron before it can produce irreversible parenchymal damage.

The Extent of Diets Role in the Chronic Disease

Owing to the fact that this disorder causes the body to absorb excessive iron from the food you eat, too much iron eventually builds up in the liver, pancreas and the heat. However, people with this condition do not need to be extreme in their diet restrictions since medics advice that diet lone cannot treat hemochromatosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, patients suffering from this disorder can monitor the food they eat so as to decrease the amount of iron in their diet and hence reducing the iron that is stored in the organs. During the treatment of the disorder patients are encouraged to drink either tea or coffee alongside their meals since these are beverages that contain tannins that reduce the amount of iron that the human body absorbs from the foods consumed.

Nutrition Perspective

By definition, nutrition is the process of providing the body with the proper food necessary for health and growth. This being said, healthy eating is considered an important aspect of good health and the development of the human body. Additionally, proper nutrition is reflected in the food that we eat. This is to say that, good nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy life and the only way to ensure that we improve the nutrition and the world around us are by keeping a healthy and a balanced diet.

My book of choice has to be A Textbook of Foods, Nutrition & Dietetics. This book is authored by Raheena Begum, and its third edition was written in 2008. Concerning the contents of the book, Begum divides this book into four crucial parts ranging from the introduction of food, Nutrition and Health to the existing relationship between and diseases. Besides, the nutrition background of Begum, the author, can be traced back to the year 1989 when the first edition of this text book was published. According to the author, there is a great relationship between nutrition science and the economic, cultural, social and technological development of society. Besides, the author contends that most of the modern day diseases are as a result of the modern lifestyles (Begum). Also, based on the fact that public interest in nutrition has become a new trend, there has been a lot of changes in the content of this particular textbook since its first publication. This being the case, although it has been considered that some aspects of nutrition and dietetics are timely, some chapters such as sports nutrition, Aids, nutritional care as well as cancer and nutrition have been included in this edition.

Based on the contents of this particular assignment, I have learned a majority of incredible things relating to nutrition. For instance, I have learned that, from a large perspective, nutrition is considered as a science of food values. This being the case, nutritionists and scholars contend that nutrition can be defined as the combination of the process within which living organisms both receive and utilize the minerals and materials necessary for the maintenance of the functions of the body. Based on this context, I intend to utilize the nutritional concepts I have learned in a majority of ways in my life. For instance, having understood that nutrients derived from food are the nourishing substances essential for growth and development of our bodies, I intend to follow a healthy eating plan, one which emphasizes on the right amount of fats, proteins, iron, and sugars among many others. Besides, with hereditary hemochromatosis being a common disease in my family line, I intend to stay within my recommended calorie intake and hence maintaining a healthy weight which is directly linked to a reduced risk of other chronic diseases.


Works Cited

Begum, R. M. A Textbook of Foods, Nutrition & Dietetics. 3rd ed., Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd,, 2008.

Clark, Paul, et al. "The Diagnosis and Management of Hereditary Haemochromatosis." The Clinical Biochemist, vol. 31, no. 1, Feb. 2010, pp. 3-8.

Griffiths, William J., and T. M. Cox. "Hereditary hemochromatosis." Oxford Medicine Online, vol. 6, no. 23, 2015, pp. 56-67.

Mayo Clinic. "Hemochromatosis - Overview." Mayo Clinic, 2017, Accessed 9 Sept. 2017.


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