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Diabetes Metab. 2000 Sep;26(4):318-21.

[Is diabetes mellitus a sufficient condition to suspect hemochromatosis?].

[Article in French]

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Unité de Diabétologie, Service d'Immunologie Clinique, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades 161 rue de Sèvres 75015 Paris, France.


Genetic Hemochromatosis (GH) is a highly prevalent autosomal recessive disorder, which outcome has been dramatically improved by early phlebotomy. Attempts to screen for the disease, using biological and genetic approaches, are currently under evaluation. Diabetes mellitus often complicates GH. However, as it occurs late in the course of the disease, in most cases when cirrhosis is already present, its usefulness for the screening of GH seems reduced. Diabetes mellitus, when isolated, appears also as a poor predictor of hemochromatosis. Indeed, the risk of being carrier of the disease is not increased in diabetic patients compared with non diabetic sujects. This risk is however highly enhanced by the co-existence of cirrhosis. Thus, in the face of a newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus, the search for hemochromatosis must be performed only when it associates with cirrhosis or with other evocative clinical conditions.

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