Julie-Anne Schulz suffers from the blood disorder haemochromatosis.
Julie-Anne Schulz suffers from the blood disorder haemochromatosis. Tom Huntley

'Iron woman's' restricted life

JULIE-ANNE Schulz is an "iron woman", but not in the way you think.

In 2003, Ms Schulz went to a doctor after suffering severe dizzy spells.

She thought they might be a result of the hot weather. It turned out she was suffering from haemochromatosis, which is the medical term for an inherited iron overload disorder.

"To put it bluntly, it can kill you," Ms Schulz said.

"The iron deposits build up in all your major organs and joints and can lead to organ failure and diabetes."

In order to keep her iron levels down, Ms Schulz's lifestyle had to change, particularly her diet.

"It's annoying because nearly everything has a lot of iron in it," she said.

"You can't buy a multi-vitamin that doesn't contain iron. All the breakfast cereals are iron-enriched.

"I love my vegies but they are full of iron, too.

"It makes it really hard."

Ms Schulz said she had resorted to restricting the portions of her meals to the size of a bread-and-butter plate, and it had nothing to do with losing weight.

"I just think it's better for me," she said.

The restrictions don't end there. Ms Schulz also has to have blood taken every three months in order to deplete her iron levels and suffers from fatigue, dizziness and joint stiffness almost "constantly."

"It does limit your quality of life, that's for sure," she said.



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