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Leading Blood Centers, LifeSource and Central Blood Bank, Spotlight a Unique Donor Population During National Hereditary Hemochromatosis Awareness Month
Date:7/14/2009

ed to rid their bodies of excess blood frequently until their iron levels have been returned to normal, and then every two to six months for the rest of the patient's life.

In December 2005, Central Blood Bank implemented a variance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the collection and distribution of blood from patients with HH. In August 2008, LifeSource also implemented the same variance. Today, LifeSource and Central Blood Bank locations in the Chicago and Pittsburgh areas are not only providing a new treatment option for HH patients who are used to paying for phlebotomy treatment at a hospital or their physician, but they are increasing the blood supply.

"With the frequency of treatment, many HH patients have often struggled with and agonized over the fact that their blood was being disposed of and not able to be put to good use," Kiss said. "After the FDA allowed the blood of HH patients to be collected and donated, we received a lot of positive feedback from the HH community."

Increasing Awareness for HH

Thousands of people are living with HH and do not even know it. LifeSource and Central Blood Bank are highlighting National HH Awareness Month to promote awareness for the disease since the condition is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed despite its high prevalence. Patients suffering from HH often first complain of symptoms that can be misinterpreted as other common ailments such as chronic fatigue, impotence, abdominal pain, muscle aches and joint pain (primarily in the fingers, knees, hips and ankles), increased pigmentation in the skin (bronze, ashen gray), depression, disorientation, memory problems, stomach swelling, nausea, among others.

Given the prevalence of the condition and hereditary nature, specialists suggest screening to detect HH for people who have a family member who has been diagnosed or who is experiencing
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SOURCE LifeSource; Central Blood Bank
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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