Increased iron concentrations occur in hemochromatosis and acute liver disease. Usually only 8-10% of iron from the diet is absorbed. However, individuals with hemochromatosis can absorb three to four times more iron than normal. This excess iron cannot be naturally excreted from the body, so it accumulates in organs and tissues, eventually causing serious health complications. The symptoms of hemochromatosis include fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, memory problems, depression, decreased sex drive, shortness of breath, and heart flutters. Further serious complications can occur in untreated individuals, including heart failure, liver cirrhosis and disease, and endocrine problems.
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