High blood iron, hemochromatosis, has two types: primary and secondary. Primary hemochromatosis is a genetic condition where too much iron is absorbed by the body and it builds up in tissues and organs, particularly the liver. The secondary form is the by-product of disease or blood transfusions. The goal of treatment is to remove excess iron from the body and treat any organ damage.

A procedure called phlebotomy (or the process of bloodletting) is the best method for removing excess iron from the body. Blood is removed from the body each week until iron levels are normal. This may take months, and in some instances, even years to accomplish. Eventually a less frequent phlebotomy is needed to maintain normal iron levels. Also, a special diet to reduce how much iron is absorbed from your diet is prescribed. The diet prohibits alcohol, especially for patients who have liver damage, iron-containing supplements, iron cookware, raw seafood (cooked is fine), or fortified, processed foods high in iron.

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