In detail

Hemochromatosis and its emotional impact

Hemochromatosis and its emotional impact

Thehemochromatosis It is a disease that is caused by the accumulation of iron in the body. It has different types, but the most common is hereditary. It is a chronic disease, which requires early diagnosis and lifelong treatment. It affects one in 200 or 300 people and is the most common genetic pathology among white people. Like any chronic disease, those affected by thehemochromatosis they face an important challenge: to face the disease mentally and emotionally for the rest of their lives, while they must monitor its incidence in later generations.

Soon we will deal with the emotional part of this disease, but first we explain in detail what is the hemochromatosis and its consequences for the body and the mind. People affected by this disease have excessive absorption of iron in the digestive tract and are not able to eliminate it. Certainly, iron is necessary for the organism but its excess and accumulation ends up dangerously affecting organs such as the liver, pancreas or heart with a result that can be lethal.

The problem with this pathology is that it takes a long time to be diagnosed, because its symptoms start from being attributed to other causes. For example, the marked fatigue, pain in the abdomen and joints, weakness, already produce emotional wear on the patient even before knowing what is happening to him. And it is that when serious pathological effects have not yet occurred, these symptoms are strong and can become disabling for the development of daily life. With the negative emotional effect that entails.

Thehemochromotosis Hereditary usually affects men between 30 and 50 years. But there is another type, calledhemochromatosis acquired, which is contracted when a person for various reasons has received many transfusions. The latter also affects young people and the elderly, so the way to assimilate and manage the disease is usually consistent with each age range. Psychologists know that when an illness is detected at an early age, emotional disorders tend to be more frequent. If, for example, school age occurs, the management that families make of the disease is essential for the patient. While, in adolescence, there is usually a danger of social isolation or self-isolation You have to control. Finally, when the diagnosis affects older people, feelings of guilt or self-abandonment may appear. Therefore, the diagnosis of a disease like this can have a different emotional impact depending on the age of the affected.

On the other hand, we do not assimilate a hereditary chronic disease the same as another that has reached us as collateral damage from another pathology we suffer. Another implicit effect of lehemochromatosis It is the reduction of libido and sexual desire to minimum levels. This aspect can have very negative effects on the life of the couple and, above all, on the affected person. That is why it is advisable, once the problem is detected, to restore sexual desire with hormonal treatments.

These types of chronic diseases unfailingly cause many changes in the usual lifestyle that can be stressful. In the case at hand, it is true that the worst emotional part occurs during the time it takes to make the diagnosis because the patient has annoying and disabling symptoms without knowing very well what they obey or what solution is required. But, if the diagnosis is made on time, the patient's life is not usually altered in excess. The usual thing is to practice regular phlebotomies, that is, regular blood extractions that allow us to lower the level of iron in the body. Although it will have to be done for life, the truth is that once healthy levels are reached, the frequency of this practice is greatly reduced.

On the other hand, the patient will be forced to modify their usual diet, in order to reduce iron intake and thus protect damaged organs. Of course, you will have to eliminate alcohol from your life and reduce the consumption of products such as red meat, liver or chocolate. They are modifications that, although difficult to assimilate at the beginning, do not suppose a devastating emotional or psychological impact on the affected person. Another thing is if the disease has caused a second pathology such as diabetes. In this case, the routine and way of life of the patient is disturbed and will go through several phases: impact, assimilation and acceptance. If all these stages are covering adequately, the logical thing is to reach a point of full and serene coexistence with the disease that greatly facilitates the life of the affected person and their environment.