, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 18-26

Population screening for hemochromatosis: Has the time finally come?

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Abstract

Hemochromatosis refers to a group of common heritable disorders among Western Caucasians which increase susceptibility for development of iron overload and its complications. These consequences are preventable by early detection and simple, relatively inexpensive treatment. Screening of appropriate populations to detect hemochromatosis before iron overload occurs is both effective and cost-effective. The primary goal of screening should be the ongoing detection of persons with hemochromatosis, especially healthy individuals whose risk to develop iron overload is great, in a context that provides appropriate preventive treatment, education, and counseling. Although related issues warrant further study, implementation of well-designed screening programs for hemochromatosis should not be delayed.