What is Thalassemia?
Thalassemia is inherited blood disorder in the body in which the body forms an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule in red blood cells(RBCs) that carries oxygen in your body.
This disorder results in more than normal destruction of red blood cells which leads to problem like anemia. Anemia is a condition in the human body in which the body doesn’t have sufficient normal and healthy red blood cells.
Now for readers to understand well, Thalassemia is inherited, means that at least one of the parents must be carrier of this disorder. It is caused by either genetic mutation or removal of certain key gene fragments.
Thalassemia minor is considered less serious form of this disorder. There are two main types of thalassemia which are more serious. In alpha thalassemia, atleast one alpha globin genes has abnormality and in the beta thalassemia, the beta globin genes are the ones which are affected.
Each of the above forms of thalassemia have different subtypes. The exact type that you have will affect severity of symptoms.
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Symptoms of Thalassemia
The symptoms of thalassemia may vary. Some of the most common ones are mentioned below:-
- bone deformity specially in the face.
- Dark color of urine
- Growth delayed and slow development
- Tiredness & fatigue
- Pale skin color
Not all individuals have visible symptoms of thalassemia. The Signs of the disorder also show up later in the childhood or in the adolescence.
Causes of Thalassemia
Thalassemia may occur when there is an abnormality or mutation in one of the genes involved in production of the hemoglobin. A person inherit these genetics abnormalities from their parents.
If only one of the parent is a carrier for thalassemia, you may develop the form of the disease called as thalassemia minor. If this occurs, you probably will not have symptoms, but you will difinitely be a carrier. Some of the people with thalassemia minor develop minor symptoms.
If both parents are carriers of thalassemia, you have a higher chance of inheriting more serious form of this disease.
Treatment options for Thalassemia
The treatment for thalassemia depends on the form and severeness of disease. Your specialist will give you a plan of treatment that will work well for your particular case.
Some of the treatments are mentioned below:-
- Transfusion of the blood.
- Bone marrow transplant.
- Drugs and supplements
- In some cases surgery to remove the gallbladder or spleen.
Your attending doctor may suggest you not to take vitamins/supplements containing iron. This is specially very true if you need blood transfusion because patients who receive them accumulate a lot of iron that the body can not easily get rid of. This is not good for the body and lead of life threatening condition.
Incase you are receiving a blood transfusion, you may need chelation therapy but this call will be taken by your attending doctor. The Chelation therapy generally involves getting injected of a chemical that binds with iron & other heavy metals. The benefit of this is to remove extra iron from your body.
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