HEMOCHROMATOSIS CARE - Ma revue n° 001 du 01/10/2020 | Espace Infirmier

L'infirmière n° 001 du 01/10/2020




Émilien Mohsen  

Professeur d’anglais aux Ifsi de Nancy et auteur de
« Maîtriser l’anglais médical » et « L’Anglais médical
pratique », Éd. Lamarre

A female patient, whose brother already suffers from hemochromatosis, has been referred to a hospital specialist by her GP in order to discuss some appropriate care.

Doctor (D) : Mrs. Henry. Come on in please and have a seat. How are you doing ?

Patient (P) : I’m afraid I’m not feeling very well, and so my pharmacist advised me to take vitamin C supplements.

(D) : Your GP has forwarded me your blood tests yesterday, and we need to talk about that. (P) : I’m all ears.

(D) : Your tests reveal a high transferrin saturation level, which is the amount of iron in your blood. (P) : And so, I might be suffering from hemochromatosis, like my brother.

(D) : Maybe so. But let me first ask you a couple of questions to try and give a definite diagnosis. Are you ok with that ?

(P) : Sure, please go ahead.

(D) : Ok. So, can you tell me what symptoms are bothering you on a daily basis ?

(P) : I always feel tired, a bit depressed, my joints are sometimes a bit painful and I have irregular periods every now and then. I think I have also lost a little bit of weight.

(D) : From what you’re telling me, and according to the blood tests, and also since you have a family history for hemochromatosis, I guess we can’t rule out this condition. But the most urgent thing right now for you is to stop taking the vitamin C supplements as they favor the absorption of iron that is already in excess in your body.

(P) : And I guess I have to go through some treatment.

(D) : Yes. I’ll be advising lifestyle measures and other medical procedures for that, since, you might know, there’s currently no cure for hemochromatosis.

(P) : I’m afraid my life would go upside down then.

(D) : Not as much as you think.

(P) : Therefore, what treatment do you suggest ?

(D) : Basically, there are 2 main options. Either phlebotomy, that’s a procedure to remove some of your blood, and which may need to be done weekly at first, and maybe 2 to 4 times a year for the rest of your life; or chelation therapy, where you take medicine to reduce the amount of iron in your body; we’ll use this only if phlebotomy can’t be easily done.

(P) : And what about diet therapy ?

(D) : You do not need to make any big changes to your diet to control your iron level if you’re having treatment, but you'll usually have to avoid breakfast cereals containing added iron, iron or vitamin C supplements and drinking too much alcohol. But the good thing here is, that since your condition has been diagnosed and will be treated early on, it will not affect your life expectancy and is unlikely to result in serious problems, like diabetes, cirrhosis or heart failure.

(P) : And are there any other daily measures that I should comply with ?

(D) : Maybe just have a healthy, balanced diet, and also be careful not to eat raw sea food. Not much of a change, you see, after all.

(P) : Fine by me.



GP (General Practitioner)

Médecin généraliste

Appropriate care

Soin adapté

Transferrin saturation level

Taux de saturation de transferrine

Iron level

Taux de fer

Family history

Antécédents familiaux

Medical procedures

Procédures médicales

Chelation therapy

Traitement par chélation

Common phrases

Your tests reveal a high transferrin saturation level, which is the amount of iron in your blood.

> Vos analyse révèlent un niveau élevé de transferrine, qui est le taux de fer dans le sang.

Symptoms of hemochromatosis can be fatigue, depression, weight loss, painful joints and irregular periods for women.

> Fatigue, dépression, perte de poids, articulations douloureuses et, pour les femmes, des règles irrégulières peuvent être des symptômes de l’hémochromatose.

According to the blood tests, and in case of family history or heredity, hemochromatosis can’t be ruled out.

> Selon les analyses de sang, et en cas d’antécédents familiaux ou de l’hérédité, on ne peut exclure l’hémochromatose.

There’s currently no cure for hemochromatosis. > Il n’y a actuellement pas de remède pour l’hémochromatose.

There are 2 main treatments, either phlebotomy or chelation therapy.

> Il y a deux principaux traitements, soit la phlébotomie, soit le traitement par chélation.

Diet therapy consists in having a balanced diet, avoiding cereals containing added iron, iron or vitamin C supplements.

> Pour l’hygiène alimentaire, il faut privilégier une alimentation équilibrée, éviter les céréales enrichies en fer, les suppléments de fer ou de vitamine C.