Normal iron absorption occurs in the small intestine. Individuals with hemochromatosis experience a much faster rate of
absorption than average, leading to an accumulation of iron. Most people absorb from 20 to 25% of the iron they consume through their diet, while hemochromatosis causes the retention of up to four times that amount. Excess iron deposits in the liver make it enlarge, leading to pain in the right upper quadrant under the ribs. Alternatively, the individual may feel the pain in the center of the stomach. It is also common for people with hemochromatosis to experience digestive disturbances, including nausea, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea.
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