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Posted on: 15 Feb 2019

1 in 83 Irish people at risk of developing  Haemochromatosis

Mr Paudie Herlihy is a native of Castleisland and is a retired secondary school teacher. In 2004,  Paudie was suffering from severe low back pain and was feeling extremely tired. Paudie’s GP referred him to the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee where he was diagnosed with Haemochromatosis. "

"I had never heard of this and was stunned to hear that unless treated immediately, it could lead to serious liver damage”

Haemochromatosis, also known as iron overload, is an inherited condition which results in the body absorbing too much iron from food and storing this iron in organs, which can result in organ damage or failure.There's currently no cure for Haemochromatosis, but a highly effective treatment for genetic Haemochromatosis consists of regular removal of blood known as venesection therapy. This can help relieve some of the symptoms and reduce the risk of damage to organs such as the heart, liver and pancreas.

Dr Helena Moore, Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Director at the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee says that  “1 in 83 Irish people are at risk of developing Haemochromatosis. It is vital for people to be aware of the symptoms and, if diagnosed, to begin treatment as soon as possible. Early detection prevents complications and a positive prognosis is very probable”.

Since his diagnosis, Paudie has been attending the hospital every month for venesections.I am not exaggerating when I say that I was very anxious in the beginning but I now treat my visits as a social outing.  From the moment I walk through the door of the Bon Secours and meet the staff at Reception, Admissions, the Day Ward and the Laboratory, I am instantly made to feel at ease”.

People often feel under pressure when they enter a hospital but Paudie has always felt a sense of welcome. The way the staff are so friendly and people focused is a credit to the Hospital. I couldn't say enough about them” says Paudie. Paudie has a fantastic outlook on life, he is feeling great and enjoys a swim most mornings. If you are worried, a simple blood test taken when you are fasting, is the best way to confirm if you have too much iron in your blood. 


Picture L-R: Paudie & Martina Fernane (Outapatients Administration)


Pictured L-R:  Dr. Elnuman Mohamed, Trish King (staff nurse), Paudie & Linda Hussey (staff nurse)



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