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Overlooking Iron


When last week’ s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper on iron-overload disorders, one of the authors already knew a reason why the condition is under-diagnosed: Many front-line physicians don’t think of it when patients who complain of fatigue and who have arthritis, impotence, diabetes or cirrhosis of the liver.

That’s important, because the condition is easily treated if detected early. UAB’s Ronald T. Acton, Ph.D. "Although simple treatment by drawing blood reduces iron to safe levels, many physicians overlook this diagnosis until the onset of severe damage to major organs."

He and colleagues found, in a 2002 survey, that only 77 percent of primary care physicians were aware of the populations at risk; more than 35 percent didn’t recognize the consequences of inheriting two mutations in an associated gene.

| newswise
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