In my opinion, yes! And depending on the population group of any country, Hemochromatosis is that condition. In Canada where it is estimated that 1 in 3 individuals - especially those with a Celtic background - will die of this inherited condition. It seems to me that no matter how many years of my life or how much of my own health have been invested in hemochromatosis awareness, many doctors, including specialists, are still not spotting the tell-tale signs.
Many years ago – it seems like a century ago although it was only in 1980 that I established the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society in Victoria, British Columbia – one of the first things I was determined to do was to put out a newsletter as frequently as I was able, in order to keep those already diagnosed, as well as their family members, up-to-date with new developments. All were encouraged to submit their own stories, to be included in this amateurish publication - laboriously typed out on my little Olivetti portable - and I reckoned that Iron Filings - an intended pun provoked by my inventor husband’s everlasting filing away at some new “gadget” in the garage - was an apt title for stories about a disease caused by TOO MUCH IRON.
Nowadays the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society, the head-office of which is located in Richmond, British Columbia, is able to produce a really first-class publication – still called “Iron Filings” - and the articles and stories are so riveting that I never discard a single copy. Periodically (please excuse another pun!) I take a look a some of the older publications, and it is the re-reading of a story on the front page of the Spring 2010 issue that has prompted me to write this.
One Man’s Story
“Out of The Blue,” a story submitted by a good-looking young man called Patrick, is well-written, and many of the details he includes are quite riveting - starting with the fact that his experience with hereditary hemochromatosis began the month before his 33rd birthday (just about the age my daughter was when she phoned me to say, “Mom, I think that I have this iron thing that Dad has.”… And I replied: That’s nonsense! In the first place women are notoriously iron-deficient; secondly it’s not hereditary, thirdly, it’s far too rare - and, what’s more you are far too young!”)