Living with a disease

It was very sad to read about the death of Coweta County Deputy Lt. Ayers. I was diagnosed six years ago with hemochromatosis. It is an unknown disease that many individuals may not even know they have.

Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes accumulation of iron in one's body. An individual needs iron to help transport oxygen throughout the body. It helps maintain red blood cells, healthy cells for skin, hair and nails.

Normal individuals only need about 10% of the iron they consume, and their bodies gets rid of what it does not need. However, Hemochromatosis patients like myself cannot get rid of the excess iron. Thus it starts to accumulate in the liver, heart, pancreas, thyroid glands, just to name a few, and causes other complications in our bodies.

There is no cure, nor is there any type of drug that we can take. The only way for a hemochromatosis patient to get rid of excess iron is thru phlebotomy. Or some refer to it as donating a unit of blood.

Over the past six years since being diagnosed, I have given 40 units of blood to maintain as close as I can a normal level of iron in my body.

It is a very hard disease to live with.

Rick Page

Newnan



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