To better understand hemochromatosis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the liver.
The liver is located in the upper right abdomen. It is necessary to help digest food and remove toxins such as alcohol from the blood. Without a liver, a person would die in a matter of days.
Functions of the liver include:
- Filters toxins from the bloodstream
- Makes cholesterol
- Processes waste products from cells
- Produces bile, which helps digest food
- Regulates blood clotting
- Stores glucose
- Stores iron
- Location of the liver in the abdomen
- Liver, gallbladder and bile ducts
- Front view of liver
- Bottom view of liver
The pancreas is located deep in the abdomen behind the stomach.
The pancreas produces digestive enzymes that are delivered into the upper intestines. These enzymes allow food to be broken down and absorbed. The pancreas also produces insulin, which is released into the bloodstream. This hormone is essential for the control of blood sugar.
Continue to Hemochromatosis Genetics
- Adams PC, Reboussin DM, Barton JC, et al.; Hemochromatosis and Iron Overload Screening (HEIRS) Study Research Investigators. Hemochromatosis and iron-overload screening in a racially diverse population. N Engl J Med. 2005 Apr 28;352(17):1769-78. 
- Franchini M, Veneri D. Hereditary hemochromatosis. Hematology. 2005 Apr;10(2):145-9. 
- Kowdley KV. Iron, hemochromatosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Gastroenterology. 2004 Nov;127(5 Suppl 1):S79-86.