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Hemochromatosis

Endocrine problems

11/09/2007

Question:

my husband was diagnosed 4 years ago with hypothyroidism, and also hep c. he went through interferon treatment, which was unsuccessful, and now has extreme fatigue, diabetes, hashimototos, low libido, elevated acth. i found an iron test from 4 years ago and upon furthur evaluation by a liver spec. discovered he also has hemochromatosis.(double C282Y mutation) bloodletting is now being done. the doctor that found eleveated iron 4 years ago did nothing about it. my question is, i have read that endocrine problems can be caused by iron overload, we have his endocrine stuff basically under control by and endocrinologist, i am wondering if i should take my husband to have special MRI`s to see if the iron is in these glands. (i asked his endocrinologist if he thought the iron might be causing his pituitary to act funny and he said he couldn`t imagine how) besides the phlembotomies is there anything they can do about it if there is iron causing these other diseases? do we need to know if there is iron in these glands? (we already know there is iron in the liver, also something the first doctor never told us about, and he treated my husband with interferon and did nothing about the iron) anyway, do you recommend getting these tests? my husband has had a regular mri on his head and they ruled out pituitary tumor and a ct scan and ruled out liver tumors but i am told a "special" scan is needed to find iron. do you think this is necessary at this time. thank you

Answer:

MRIs can be helpful in determining iron load, particularly in the heart and liver.  I am not aware of any data that would suggest that it would change therapy related to the pituitary gland or other problems. 

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Response by:

Mark   Wurster, MD Mark Wurster, MD
Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University