Symptoms of haemochromatosis 

Symptoms of haemochromatosis usually begin in adults between the ages of 30-50, although they can sometimes occur much earlier in life.

Most people with haemochromatosis have no symptoms and discover they have the condition during a routine blood test, or after attending screening due to a family history of the condition.

Initial symptoms of haemochromatosis can include:

As the condition progresses it can trigger additional symptoms such as:

  • loss of libido (sex drive) – both men and women can be affected
  • a change in skin colour such as looking bronzed or tanned
  • enlargement of the liver which may be noticeable to the touch – in turn this can cause abdominal pain and yellowing of your eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • a build-up of sugar in the blood (diabetes) which can cause symptoms such as feeling thirsty all the time, frequent passing of urine and weight loss
  • severe pain and stiffness in your joints (arthritis) –  finger joints are the most commonly affected
  • damage to the muscles of your heart (cardiomyopathy) which can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and swelling of your hands and feet

Page last reviewed: 29/07/2014

Next review due: 29/07/2016