Homozygote means that there is an extremely high chance that, without therapy, one will become ill. Heterozygote means that the person may pass the gene on to his/her children, but that he/she will not have problems.
The proof: It doesn`t hurt!!!
During the ferritin test on the second lab day, we found that 4 of our 54 subjects had high amounts of iron in the blood. That is a very high amount for such a small sample.
If ferritin values were tested regularly during the standard medical exam (right now, this would cost about 2 Euros extra per exam), one could discover the illness in its early stages and could fight against the chronic liver damage by donating blood or having regular bloodletting.
A machine that can get a result within a few minutes is something we have already used in our trials. This machine would be a useful piece of equipment for any doctor.
Many doctors seem to have very little experience in this area. Because of this and the fact that the symptoms of HC resemble those of alcoholism, the illness is often misdiagnosed.
Also, the blood that is taken out and fully intact, which is even better than normal blood because of the high iron content, could save lives. Unfortunately in Austria, blood that is considered "diseased" cannot be used for blood transfusions--something doctors often criticize.
If this were not the case, then the sufferings of many people could be lessened. This could even mean less money needing to be spent by health insurance companies since funds for something such as liver cancer could be saved.
We hope that, through our project, we have struck an interest in this topic. Through press releases, T.V. appearances, Information Days, etc., we would like to make people better informed about hemochromatosis.
We finally did it!!!