Cause of Hemochromatosis
Hemochromatosis is caused by a defect in a gene called HFE, which helps regulate the amount of iron absorbed from food. A person who inherits the defective gene from both parents (someone who is homozygous) may develop hemochromatosis.
Studies indicate that virtually everyone who is homozygous for the HFE defect develops increased iron levels, with about half of them developing complications as a result. People who inherit the defective gene from only one parent (someone who is heterozygous) are carriers for the disease but usually do not develop it, although they may have slightly increased iron levels.