Contributor: Gordon K. Klintworth
Hemochromatosis is a disorder of iron metabolism characterized by increasing levels of iron absorption that lead to tissue damage in the pancreas, liver, heart, and pituitary gland. The disorder may be inherited [hemochromatosis - primary]. Three genetically different types of hemochromatosis are recognized (hemochromatosis type I, hemochromatosis type II, and hemochromatosis type III) and the disorder may result from mutations in the HFE, HFE2, and HFE3 genes. The patterns of iron distribution in the different types of primary hemachromatosis is identical and so are the complications that develop from iron overload and which lead to death at a premature age. Other conditions with iron overloading cause secondary hemachromatosis [hemochromatosis - secondary].