Minister Recognizes National Hemochromatosis Awareness Month

Posted May 5th, 2015 by webadmin

steve-kent-NLThe following statement was given today in the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador by the Honourable Steve Kent, Minister of Health and Community Services:

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this Honourable House today to recognize May as National Hemochromatosis Awareness Month. Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes the body to store excess iron. This month provides a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges faced by individuals and families dealing with this disorder.

People with this disorder absorb four times the amount of iron from a daily diet than the average individual. The human body cannot rid itself of this extra iron, and over time excesses build up in major organs such as the heart, liver, pancreas, joints, and pituitary gland. If the extra iron is not removed, these organs can become diseased.

Mr. Speaker, if left untreated, hemochromatosis can be fatal. When undiagnosed, it can also increase the risk for diabetes, depression, infertility, various forms of cancer and other conditions.

Type 1 hemochromatosis is the most common form of hereditary hemochromatosis. Approximately 125,000 Canadians suffer from the disorder. Generating awareness to educate residents about the importance of screening for early detection is crucial to ensuring early diagnosis and effective treatment. 

Residents who have questions, or who may have family history of hemochromatosis, are urged to seek more information by calling the Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine at 1-888-709-2929. The HealthLine offers callers free 24/7 access to a registered nurse for health care information and symptom triage, and represents an annual Provincial Government investment of approximately $3 million.

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society is a registered not-for-profit organization founded in 1980 to raise public awareness to ensure early detection, testing and treatment in order to prevent suffering and premature death.

I commend the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society for its continued support and awareness efforts on behalf of Canadians living with this disorder. I urge all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to visit the society’s website at to become better educated on the importance of early detection and to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by so many across our country.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.