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As you probably know, hyperpigmentation of the skin is one of the symptoms of hemochromatosis/iron overload. My skin doesn't look tanned all over, but I have hundreds of brown spots on my skin.

I did have (and still have) palmar erythema (reddening of the palms of the hands and soles of the feet), which can be a symptom of hemochromatosis, but I think it can also be a symptom of liver damage and some other diseases/conditions. At one time, many years ago, the palms of my hands turned orange, and I rushed to the doctor. The doctor asked if I was taking beta carotene (a form of Vitamin A), and I said yes as a matter of fact I was. The doctor said my orange palms were a side effect of the beta carotene, so he said to stop taking it and the orange color would go away. I stopped taking it, and the orange color went away. But I still have red palms and soles.

Hemochromatosis can cause thyroid disease. I had a goiter that came and went, beginning in my early teens and throughout adulthood. No one noticed my goiter when I was a teen (but now I see it very obviously in some of my old photos), and as an adult my thyroid tests were sometimes abnormal and sometimes not, fluctuating between hypo, hyper, and normal. But I was never diagnosed with thyroid disease. When I developed a goiter again in 2006, my doctor said my thyroid gland should be removed. I had a total thyroidectomy, and the pathology report noted that my thyroid gland was brownish red in color. I had not been diagnosed with hemochromatosis at that point in time, but after I was diagnosed with hemochromatosis, I asked my doctor if the brownish red color of my thyroid was normal, and she said no, it's supposed to be pinkish red, not brownish red. I asked if the brownish coloring could have been caused by iron, and she said yes. Since iron causes inflammation, I assume my thyroid was being irritated and inflamed by iron, and that's why my thyroid blood tests fluctuated, and that's what caused the gland to swell (the goiter), in my opinion. The pathology report said that I had a benign goiter. I wish that I had never had my thyroid removed, because ever since then, I've had numerous additional problems and symptoms caused by not having a thyroid gland. For me, taking a thyroid hormone pill is not a good replacement for the vital functions of the thyroid gland.

Here's an article about a possible link between hemochromatosis and Hashimoto's thyroiditis:
[url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18299688[/url]

I also have an autoimmune disease called myasthenia gravis. I have no idea if hemochromatosis has anything to do with it. I also have severe osteoporosis. Hemochromatosis has been implicated in osteoporosis. I'm also hearing-impaired. Hemochromatosis has been implicated in hearing loss.

Almost every symptom of hemochromatosis can also be attributed to other diseases, so it's very hard, if not impossible, to determine what is actually caused by hemochromatosis. In all of the reading I've done about hemochromatosis, here is a list of the diseases and conditions it can cause (The list is incomplete. I keep adding to it when I discover new information in medical journal articles):

Adrenal Glands: Insufficiency

Arthritis: Chondrocalcinosis

Bones: Arthritis, Osteoporosis

Cancer: Liver (Hepatocellular carcinoma)

Diabetes Mellitus

Hearing Loss

Heart: Angina without coronary artery disease, Cardiomyopathy (Congestive and Restrictive), Heart Failure, Irregular heart rhythms, Pericarditis

Liver: Cancer, Cirrhosis, Enlargement, Fibrosis, Hepatitis, Liver Failure

Pancreas: Diabetes, Dysfunction

Sex Organs: Impotence, Premature Menopause

Skin: Bronze or Gray, Hyperpigmentation

Thyroid: "Thyroid gland involvement is manifest by thyroid tissue inflammation and fibrosis, with initial hyperthyroid function followed by low thyroid output. Unfortunately, hypothyroidism does not improve with treatment. It might even continue to worsen despite treatment." (I'm sorry, but I didn't keep a record of where I got that quote from.)

Donna/Snowgoose





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