World Haemochromatosis Awareness Week June 1 – June 7, 2020
World Haemochromatosis Awareness Week runs in the first week of June each year. Haemochromatosis is a hereditary disorder that affects all ages. But, it often goes undiagnosed until later in life when people are at retirement age or requiring aged care. Fortunately, with government-subsidised aged care, older sufferers are able to receive aged care services and medical services that they require. Furthermore, this ensures that the treatment and healthcare for ageing Australians meet their needs.
Haemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that’s inherited. The body stores too much iron from one’s diet. As a result, the body goes into iron overload. Moreover, you can suffer from some major health complications if it goes untreated. In fact, too much iron in the body can cause organ damage. It can also impact on longevity.
Is Haemochromatosis Life-Threatening
Undiagnosed haemochromatosis can be dangerous. But if you’re diagnosed with the disorder early enough, you can lead a life without impact from the disorder if you receive appropriate treatment.
How Do I Know if I Have Haemochromatosis?
The disorder can be difficult to diagnose as it often takes time for symptoms to be obvious. Males and females can inherit the disorder too. You might know of someone in your family that already has it, especially if you’re of European descent. Approximately 1 in 200 people of European descent live with this genetic disorder.
Symptoms to Look Out For
According to Haemochromatosis Australia, there are obvious symptoms that you might experience with iron overload:
- Joint pain
- Fatigue/ lethargy
- Abdominal pain
- Liver issues
- Loss of sex drive
- Decreased body hair
The disorder is more obvious as people age. This is because there’s been time for iron stores to build up in the body. You’re also more likely to live with other illnesses as you age. These co-morbidities may impact on iron absorption too.
Healthcare for ageing Australians is world-class. Elderly people receiving care can have their care plans designed to allow access to treatment. This will improve their quality of life for Haemochromatosis sufferers.
Haemochromatosis symptoms typically become obvious in later life. As many as 1 in 200 Australians are susceptible to developing the condition. Melanie Whelan from the Courier reports that “one in seven Australians carries a mutation in the affected gene for it.” Fortunately, a simple blood test is all that’s required to diagnose elevated iron levels.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor. Furthermore, family history is also an indication to see a medical practitioner. Discuss your symptoms and family history, and talk about getting tested for the disorder. The doctor will send you off for a blood test to check your iron levels.
The positive diagnosis of iron overload disorder requires ongoing monitoring and treatment. The treatment involves the removal of blood to get the iron levels to a normal range. The frequency of treatment is regular at the onset of diagnosis. But once iron levels are in normal limits, the procedure takes place as needed. This occurs to maintain healthy iron levels in the body.
Haemochromatosis sufferers require lifelong monitoring. Consequently, seeking treatment and ongoing monitoring reduces risks of complications from the disorder.
Managing Haemochromatosis as You Age
For the elderly who live with the disorder, regular treatments and monitoring of symptoms present challenges. For instance, you might not drive anymore and you could have difficulties with mobilising. Others possibly live with co-morbidities that impact on activities of daily living too.
in conclusion, in-home aged care recipients can speak with their service provider about getting support for this. It’s possible to arrange transport to and from medical appointments. They can arrange for a carer to chaperone you to appointments. Moreover, they can arrange for in-home respite care if needed, as well as in-home nursing care. Consequently, this ensures that healthcare for ageing Australians meets their specific needs.