Hemochromatosis and Arthritis by
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Hemochromatosis is a disorder of iron metabolism -

It is genetic and as a result there is an accumulation of iron in the tissues - especially in glandular tissue, pancreas and liver, and skin.
The patient becomes bronzy in color from the skin pigment.
The name bronze diabetes is sometimes heard as the patients are often diabetic as well because of iron deposition in the pancreas.

The condition is associated with the development of

1. osteoarthritis of the hips and also interestingly the metacarpal joints of the hands - especially the index and middle fingers.
2. They also develop pseudogout - with deposition of calcium pyrophosphate in the cartilage.

This produces a crystal arthritis and will mimic a type of gout - with flares over days and subsidence over approx 3 wks per attack.

X-rays show calcium deposition in cartilage - This is seen at the :
Menisci at the knees,
Base of wrist
The shoulder and
Symphisis pubis.

Untreated - osteoarthritis will develop and the joints will deteriorate.

Treatment of the arthritis is with Nonsteroidal antiinflammatories and local cortisone injections into the joints - especially the knees.
Colchicine may also be useful

It is important to treat the underlying iron overload and to screen affected family members.

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