What are The Causes of Bronze Diabetes | Symptoms and Treatments

Many people have questioned, what are the causes, symptoms, and treatments of Bronze Diabetes and the precautionary steps to be taken into account in avoiding the disease.

This article explores all your questions and all you need to know about Bronze Diabetes just grab a seat and read through.

Nevertheless, there is still much more to learn about bronze diabetes also known as “Hemochromatosis” and other forms of diseases that could affect you and your family

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Bronze Diabetes puts the body in a condition in which the body absorbs excess iron from food.

However, the condition is caused by a faulty gene and can lead to gradual damage to several organs.

What is Bronze diabetes?

Correspondingly, Bronze diabetes got its name from the brown hue of the skin that results in the accumulation of iron in the body. 

However, this iron form of diabetes is associated with an underlying liver disease known as “hemochromatosis”.

In the same fashion, Bronze diabetes is considered a disorder of iron metabolism characterized by a triad of Hermosiderosis; liver cirrhosis, and diabetes mellitus,

However, this disorder is caused by massive iron deposits in parenchymal cells that may develop after a prolonged increase in iron absorption

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What is Hemochromatosis?

Historical Aspects

French physicians first reported HC cases and described the syndrome of “bronze diabetes and pigmented cirrhosis” in the mid-1800s but they did not recognize the pathogenic link with iron.

However, In the same period, Rudolph Virchow, a prominent German pathologist, used the Prussian blue reaction to identify a golden brown pigment in sites of hemorrhage.

And then, his fellow Max Perl’s combined potassium Ferrocyanide and acid to develop the modern histologic iron staining method named after him.

Although it was another fellow of Virchow, Friedrich von Recklinghausen, who used this method during postmortem examinations.

And furthermore coined the term hemochromatosis to describe the bronze stain of organs due to a blood-borne pigment.

However, for 6 decades the term hemochromatosis was generically used to describe a variety of iron-loading conditions.

Until the English gerontologist Joseph Sheldon, in 1935, suggested that HC was indeed the result of an inborn error of metabolism. 

Additionally, Hemochromatosis is a single gene mutation that causes extra iron to be absorbed from food in the intestine.

And also when the body lacks an efficient means of excreting the excess iron it takes in.

However, over time, this iron accumulates in the tissues of the body, most notably the pancreas, and the liver.

Furthermore, there are two categories of hemochromatosis:

  • Genetic or primary mutation
  • Secondary Mutation acquired from other illnesses and also other circumstances.

Note: The secondary mutation may also affect the way the body eliminates excess iron or causes the body to store iron


However, the symptoms of Bronze diabetes occur gradually with signs often first becoming apparent after the age of 40 regardless.

In the same fashion, organs most commonly affected by hemochromatosis are the liver, heart, and endocrine glands.

Nevertheless, Bronze Diabetes may present with the following clinical syndromes:

  • Acute liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver
  • Heart failure and also irregular heart rhythm
  • Hormonal issues: diabetes hypogonadism (insufficiency of the sex hormone-producing glands)
  • Leads to low sex drive and also loss of fertility in men and still loss of menstrual cycle in women

Diabetes in people with iron overload occurs as a result of selective iron deposition in islet beta cells in the pancreas leading to functional failure and cell death.

Additionally, Arthritis, from calcium pyrophosphate deposition in joints leading to severe joint pains.

The most commonly affected joints are those of the hands, particularly the knuckles of the second and third fingers.

Bronzing of the skin-deep tan color, in concert with insulin insufficiency due to pancreatic damage, is the source of a nickname for this condition: “Bronze diabetes“.

However, some evident Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain – particularly affecting the fingers
  • Unexplained bronzing or tanning of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Missed periods
  • Increased urination
  • Thirst
  • Loss of body hair
  • Cardiomyopathy – weakening of the heart

Causes of Bronze Diabetes

Bronze diabetes or hemochromatosis furthermore is a relatively common inherited genetic condition.

Nevertheless, people with Bronze Diabetes have two sets of a mutated HFE gene.

People with one set of the faulty gene will not have hemochromatosis but could pass it on to children if their partner is also a carrier of the faulty gene.

However, the faulty gene causes the body to absorb too much iron from food. Usually, the body absorbs only as much as it needs.

The body has no natural response to help excrete the excess iron and so, over the years, the body stores the iron in organs such as the liver, pancreas, and the skin, in that order.

However, excess iron in the liver can cause liver damage and excess iron in the pancreas can lead to diabetes.

Forms of diabetes that are caused by another medical condition are referred to as secondary diabetes.


Furthermore, Bronze diabetes can be diagnosed with a transferrin saturation or serum ferritin blood test nonetheless.

In the same fashion, if also needed a DNA blood test to check for the presence of a faulty HFE gene nonetheless.

Acute liver disease takes several years to develop and the condition may not be recognized regardless.

Unless there is clinical awareness of subtle signs and investigation of abnormal liver function tests.

Testing for the chronic liver disease involves blood tests, imaging including ultrasound, and also a biopsy of the liver.

In the same fashion, the liver biopsy is a simple procedure done with a fine thin needle under local anesthesia.

Additionally, the tissue sample is sent to a laboratory where it is examined underneath a microscope. 

in other words, a liver biopsy may be carried out to assess whether liver damage has occurred nonetheless.

However, If you have close family members diagnosed with hemochromatosis, you may wish to be tested for it regardless.

Prevention and treatment of Bronze Diabetes

Phlebotomy blood treatments 

The Phlebotomy blood treatments, however, are used to treat hemochromatosis are encouraging.

Once iron levels in the body are brought under and kept under control diabetes may be reversed.

However, the phlebotomy treatment consists of two phases: an iron reduction phase and a long-term maintenance phase.


Nevertheless, prevention begins by playing an active role in your health, knowing your family history.

And also discussing your risk of hemochromatosis with your healthcare team.


Once you start feeling symptoms of Bronze diabetes, you should have your serum ferritin level checked at least once a year.

By doing so can help keep your iron level within the normal range and avoid the serious problems caused by too much iron.

And also becoming a smart patient by educating yourself on these new diabetic conditions helps you take control of your health.

However, you can start a diabetes conversation with your healthcare team today!

Bronze Diabetes and Diabetes            

However, in some cases, treating hemochromatosis may reverse the development of diabetes.

And in other cases, there may also be permanent damage to the pancreas which will require diabetes medication to keep blood glucose levels under control.

Similarly, your health team will be able to advise whether medication is needed, and if so, whether you need to take tablets or insulin.


However, it is pertinent to note that Bronze Diabetes can lead to acute diabetes which leads to excess iron in the blood and importantly in the tissues of the body.

And it is also one of the most commonly inherited diseases which leads to abnormally increased absorption of iron from the intestine.

And finally results in the deposition of excess iron in a wide range of internal organs regardless.       

Furthermore, Bronze Diabetes is a common genetic disorder and also a progression leading to multi-organ failure.

However, if you want to live long and enjoy a healthy life you should put these steps into action to protect yourself and your family.

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