While many people may develop the genetic disorder that causes hemochromatosis, many will go their entire lives without experiencing symptoms. However, the condition is much more likely to have fatal effects for men than for women. Those who do experience symptoms later in life can often suffer the effects of organ failure.
If left untreated, hereditary hemochromatosis can cause a number of complications due to a buildup of iron in the liver, pancreas and heart. These complications may include:
- Skin changes – Iron deposits in your skin cells may make your skin appear gray or yellow in color.
- Reproductive issues – Increased iron levels can lead to the loss of sex drive or erectile dysfunction in men, and cause an interrupted or suspended menstrual cycle in women.
- Pancreatic damage – Damage that inhibits pancreatic function may cause diabetes.
- Liver problems – A permanent scarring of the liver—also called cirrhosis—increases your risk of liver cancer and other life-threatening conditions.
- Heart complications – Hemochromatosis can cause abnormal heart rhythms—also called arrhythmia—in patients, causing heart palpitations, chest pain, and dizziness. Over time, excessive iron in the heart can lead to congestive heart failure, reducing the heart’s ability to circulate adequate blood to the body.
Because the early symptoms of hemochromatosis can include stiffness in the joints and fatigue, many cases of the disorder go undiagnosed for years. When the condition is reported, it is often misdiagnosed as a more common affliction.
If someone you love has succumbed to organ failure in a Kentucky hospital due to misdiagnosis, the attorneys at Gray and White can help you seek justice. Contact our Louisville medical malpractice team today at 800.634.8767 or fill out the contact form on the top of this page to find out your legal options in your FREE case evaluation.