Your body needs iron to function, but too much can be toxic. Excess iron buildup in your blood is called hemochromatosis. If you have hemochromatosis, your body absorbs more iron than needed with no natural way to get rid of it. This excess iron is then stored in your liver, heart, pancreas and other organs. Left untreated, hemochromatosis is damaging and can lead to diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Hemochromatosis presents earlier in men because women have a natural way through menstruation to lose blood.
Managing hemochromatosis is possible and successful treatment includes regularly removing some of your blood and its iron from your body (phlebotomy and venesection).