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Thalassemia Prevention is A Necessity Not A Choice

Thalassemia Prevention is A Necessity Not A Choice

 

Thalassemia is a disorder that results in abnormal formation of hemoglobin. This leads to improper transport of oxygen and a decline in the number of red blood cells.

Though the main cause of thalassemia is not yet known, it is mainly a hereditary condition. If either of the parents are thalassemia carriers, there is a chance for the baby to develop thalassemia.

World Thalassemia Day

May 8 is observed as World Thalassemia Day every year, globally, by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about this serious disease. It is dedicated to patients suffering from thalassemia in an attempt to bring change in their lives. As part of the day’s events, couples are encouraged to take a pre-marriage test in order to identify any possibility of the disorder’s occurrence.

Symptoms

  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Slow growth of the body
  • Breathing problem in children
  • Pale yellow appearance (jaundice)
  • Various infections (skin, eye)
  • Abnormal swelling and bone structure, especially in the face
  • Heart problems
  • Excess Iron in blood

Detection

  • A complete blood count (CBC) test can detect thalassemia.
  • A hemoglobin electrophoresis test would show the abnormal form of hemoglobin.

Management

  • The treatment for thalassemia includes regular blood transfusions and folate supplements.
  • A person receiving blood transfusion needs chelation therapy treatment to remove excess iron from the body.
  • A bone marrow transplant may help treat the disease in some patients, especially children.

Prevention

  • Parents with thalassemia should consult their doctor and a genetic counselor to find out about reducing the risk of disease transmission to their children.
  • Prenatal tests can help in detecting the disorder before birth.
  • Immunization to children can help them fight the disease.

 

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