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The Co Down woman who spent 20 years searching for ‘Celtic Curse’ diagnosis

Genetic haemochromatosis leads to an overload of iron in the body, however it’s not easily spotted. Lorraine Wylie speaks to a Co Down woman who spent 20 years searching for a diagnosis for the ‘Celtic Curse’

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On the mend: Alison Houston is glad to finally know what’s wrong with her. Photograph : Stephen Hamilton

On the mend: Alison Houston is glad to finally know what’s wrong with her. Photograph : Stephen Hamilton

On the mend: Alison Houston is glad to finally know what’s wrong with her. Photograph : Stephen Hamilton

Approximately 20,000 people in Northern Ireland suffer from genetic haemochromatosis (GH), a condition in which the body absorbs too much iron from the diet, storing the ‘overload’ in vital organs such as the heart, liver and pancreas.

Over time this build-up of iron has a toxic effect and, if left untreated, can result in serious illnesses such as cirrhosis and heart disease.


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