Disease to which Irish people are most susceptible

Disease Irish people susceptible Haemochromatosis

Haemochromatosis Society’s fundraising walk along Hadrian’s Wall

A group of hikers have raised almost ten thousands pounds for charity as they joined forces to tackle an 84-mile hike to raise awareness of a genetic disorder often referred to as “the Celtic curse”.

Haemochromatos is causes the body to absorb an excessive amount of iron from the diet, which can be life threatening as the iron is then deposited in various organs. This is called iron overload and the body is then unable to rid itself of the excess, which slowly builds up over a number of years and damages the organs where it is stored.

Haemochromatosis is sometimes referred to as the ‘Celtic curse’ because it is more common in those with Celtic ancestry, as recent surveys of people of Northern European origin have shown a prevalence of the gene flaws that can lead to iron overload in the order of 1 in 200 and some studies suggest as high as 1 in 83 amongst those with a Celtic heritage.

Diagnosis of GH, unfortunately, is often made later than ideal, perhaps at a stage where iron overload has started to cause severe symptoms or serious damage to the organs of the body.

Relatively simple blood tests, genetic tests, and recognition by healthcare professionals of patterns of symptoms, should lead to diagnosis sooner than it often does.

The Haemochromatosis Society runs an annual fundraising challenge called the GH Challenge and this year the challenge was to trek the length of The Hadrian’s Wall Path.

#TeamIronOverload undertook the hike from Bowness-on-Solway, on the west coast, to Wallsend on the east, sticking close to the remains of Hadrian’s Wall.

Hadrian’s Wall is the largest ancient Roman artefact in the world. When it was built it marked the northern edge of the Roman Empire.

Started in 122 AD under Emperor Hadrian and finished in just six years, Hadrian’s Wall was built to separate the Romans and the Celts.

• If you have any of the symptoms such as: Arthritis particularly in the ankle or knuckle and first joint of the first two fingers, chronic fatigue, abdominal pain, bronzing of the skin, Diabetes (late onset) or liver disorders and have northern European, particularly Celtic ancestry ask your doctor to check for haemochromatosis or contact The Haemochromatosis Society for more information.

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