The goal of treatment is to remove excess iron from the body and treat any organ damage.
A procedure called phlebotomy is the best method for removing excess iron from the body:
- One-half liter of blood is removed from the body each week until the body iron level is normal. This may take many months to do.
- After that, the procedure may be done less often to maintain normal iron levels.
How the procedure is needed depends on your symptoms and levels of hemoglobin and serum ferritin, and how much iron you take in your diet.
In men, testosterone hormone therapy can help improve the loss of sexual desire and changes in secondary sexual characteristics.
Diabetes, arthritis, liver failure, and heart failure should be treated as appropriate.
If you are diagnosed with hemochromatosis, you should follow a special diet to reduce how much iron is absorbed from your digestive tract. Your doctor or nurse will recommend:
- Do not drink alcohol, especially if you have liver damage.
- Do not take iron pills or vitamins containing iron.
- Do not use iron cookware.
- Do not eat raw seafood (cooked is fine).
- Do not eat foods fortified with iron, such as 100% iron-fortified breakfast cereals.