Quiz -  Iron Overload

One of the most common genetic disorders in the United States is hereditary hemochromatosis, a metabolic condition that causes increased absorption of iron from the digestive tract. Over time, the deposits of iron accumulate in the organs and tissues, and if left untreated this can lead to serious complications. Take our quiz to learn more about the symptoms and treatment for hemochromatosis, the kind of inheritance we don’t want to get from our parents:

1. A person will be born with hemochromatosis if two hemochromatosis genes are inherited—one from the mother and one from the father.

A. True
B.  False
2. The most common symptom of hemochromatosis is:
A. Lethargy and weakness
B. Irritability
C. Joint pain
D. Bronze or yellowish skin color
E. All of the above

3. Untreated or severe hemochromatosis may lead to abnormalities in all of the following EXCEPT:
A. Liver function
B. Heart rhythm
C. The spleen
D.  Muscles surrounding the torso
4. Iron overload from hereditary hemochromatosis is more common in women than in men. The age of onset is also earlier in females than in males.
A. True
B.  False

5. Treatment for hemochromatosis may include the following EXCEPT:
A. Periodic phlebotomy (removing blood from the body until iron stores have returned to normal)
B. Avoiding iron and vitamin C supplements
C. Iron depletion through intense athletic training
D. Avoiding excessive alcohol intake
E.  Chelation therapy (drug treatment that tightly binds and removes iron from the body)


1. A. True. Also, a person who has only one hemochromatosis gene is a carrier and has an increased chance to have a child with hemochromatosis. First-degree relatives of people with known hemochromatosis should undergo screening for the disorder. 

2. E. All of the above.  Other symptoms include depression, loss of body hair, and amenorrhea in women.

3. D. Muscles surrounding the torso will not be affected. Other serious risks from untreated hemochromatosis include diabetes and heart failure.

4. B. False. The opposite is true. Most likely because of the effect of iron loss through menses, females do not build up iron as quickly as men over time.

5. C. Iron depletion through intense athletic training is not a treatment option. Discovery and successful treatment of hemochromatosis through the other methods listed above, before it leads to organ damage, will allow a patient with this condition to lead a normal life.

Source: The Health Library

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