Waterford born Dr. Suzanne Norris, one of the country’s leading authorities on Haemochromatosis, has accepted an invitation to deliver a talk on the subject in the main classroom at Waterford Regional Hospital on Friday, October 19th. at 7.30pm.. Dr. Norris is Consultant Gastroenterologist/Hepatologist at St. James’ Hospital, Dublin. Prior to returning to her native country, she worked as a Consultant at Kings College Hospital, London.Haemochromatosis is an iron-overload disorder that can be fatal. Sufferers absorb an excessive amount of iron from their diet that is then deposited in various organs and joints. This can seriously damage the pancreas and heart but the liver is the principal organ affected as that is where iron is stored for the purpose of providing new, red blood cells. One of the problems with the condition is that some people do not exhibit clinical symptoms or, sometimes, only mild symptoms.
The Irish Haemochromatosis Association is endeavouring to raise the awareness of the condition and is actively encouraging GPs to consider the condition as a possible diagnosis as its symptoms can often be similar to other illnesses. The condition is quite insidious and damage from iron overload can build up in the body over a number of years. Men usually show symptoms earlier than women. However, when diagnosed before serious damage is caused, treatment of the condition is straightforward and sufferers can expect a normal life expectancy.
A spokesperson for the Haemochromatosis Association told The Munster Express the lack of awareness of the condition was staggering especially when one considered that the proportion of Irish people with a susceptibility to iron overload was the highest in the world, estimated to be one in every 83 people. Describing Dr. Norris as a ‘leading expert in the field’, the spokesperson said the Association was delighted that she was coming to her native city to speak on such an important matter for so many families.
Dr. Norris is daughter of Noel (Blondie) and Angela Norris, Butlerstown, Waterford. She received her primary and secondary education at The Mercy Convent before going on to UCD. She worked in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin and Kings College in London before accepting a post in St. James’ Hospital, Dublin.