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Endocrine disorders in patients with hereditary hemochromatosis

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Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is a rare genetic disorder, developing secondary to the accumulation of iron in tissues, which may lead to multiple organ failure. If untreated, it may result in liver cirrhosis or cardiomyopathy. The damage to the pancreas and the anterior pituitary, on the other hand, leads to a decreased production and secretion of hormones that are essential to life. Common symptoms of HH, that are distressing for patients, include joint pain, particularly involving hands and wrists, as well as the chronic fatigue syndrome. Iron overload affects the skeletal system, leading to osteoporosis. The pathological accumulation of iron in the anterior pituitary impairs the gonadotropin synthesis, resulting in reduced serum levels of testosterone in men and estrogens in women. This, however, contributes to lower bone mass. In vivo tests have also revealed that abnormal iron accumulation is related to an increased activity and number of osteoclasts, as well as the influence on the differentiation and activity of osteoblast-lineage cells. Based on a systematic review of literature, hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) will be presented as a chronic disease, affecting most of the endocrine glands.
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