Showing posts from March, 2014

New St Patrick's Day Tradition: Save lives! (with blood tests for iron overload, due to Celtic Curse)

Photo by Michal Osmenda Here is a modest proposal to save lives on St. Patrick's Day, and for years to come:  GET YOUR IRON LEVELS CHECKED! Why? Because too much iron in your body can cause serious damage to joints, liver, heart, brain, and endocrine system. And the leading cause of this "iron overload" is hereditary hemochromatosis, a genetic condition so closely linked to Ireland it is often referred to as Celtic Curse . The classic form of genetic haemochromatosis , which is the Irish-English spelling, is present in 1 out of every 83 people in Ireland and around 1 in every 200 white people of Northern European descent around the world. Note that it can also be present in people who don't self-identify as white. (See  WebMD for more on ferritin tests  and NEJM for prevalence .) If you are Irish, part-Irish, or "Celtic" in the broadest sense of the word, then you should know your ferritin level. Why? Because, if hemochromatosis is discovered early enough yo