A Guide To Management And Treatment For Thalassemia
Transmitting Thalassemia by parents carrying thalassemia genes to their children is a horror for such parents. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder and is characterized by the abnormal production of hemoglobin in the blood. The blood test can determine the severity of the same. Accordingly, the most effective treatment is sought from the reliable hospitals.
On this 8th May 2018, as we observe World Thalassemia Day, we on behalf of ILS Hospitals, spread awareness regarding its treatment options. But at the onset, we need to understand what are the various kinds of thalassemia patients and how are various treatment done to manage the same. Thalassemia minor are the individuals who are simply carrying the genes of the same, without any major impact on their own life. Whereas Thalassemia major are the individuals who are carrying the genes having a high risk of severe impact.
Thalassemia minor does not require any strict supervision or treatment post its primary evaluation. Thalassemia major with alpha and beta thalassemia must be warned regarding their respective conditions and best possible treatment options. They should also be aware of the closely related conditions such as iron deficiency and anemia so as to avoid misdiagnosis.
The most prevalent treatment options for thalassemia major includes a routine blood transfusion. It usually helps to prolong the life. The frequency varies as per the severity of the case, narrowing down to a couple of weeks for some cases. However, many a time, this frequent transfusion might result in the excess iron build up in few organs such as liver, heart etc.
As already mentioned multiple blood transfusions is a widely availed treatment for thalassemia, it often leads to an excess iron build-up in the body. To negate its ill-effects, routine medication is needed. This is usually done as chelation therapy, shots/oral medication of deferoxamine, deferiprone, or deferasirox. There are few side effects associated with each one whose severity varies from person to person.
Bone marrow transplant
As the marrow plays a crucial role in the overall composition of the blood. For very young thalassemia patients, a bone marrow transplant from a suitable donor can prove to be somewhat of a permanent cure for thalassemia, the success rate has been found as high as 80% to 90%.
Therefore, it is recommended for every thalassemia patient and their family to take note of the severity of the same and avail treatment accordingly.
Thalassemia – Definition, Symptoms & Diagnosis. Can it be Cured Permanently?
Thalassemia is a genetically inherited medical condition which involves making an abnormal type of hemoglobin cells. It is one of the common illness treated in hospitals in Kolkata. The hemoglobin is the protein component in the blood that carries the oxygen. With time this condition further develops into anemia. It is another complicated condition, in which the individual does, not have an adequate amount of blood, namely the red blood cells in their body.
Thalassemia being inherited makes either of the parent, the carrier of the same. There are several types of the same, however, the two types- alpha and beta thalassemia. In the prior type, at last, one alpha goblin gene possesses a mutation. While in the later one, the beta goblin genes are responsible.
Symptoms of Thalassemia
Though the symptoms may vary greatly from type to type and as per the overall condition of the individual, some of the common ones for the same are as follows-
- Pale skin color including the occurrence of jaundice
- Dark urine, indicating the breakdown cells
- Bone deformities particularly in the face
- Poor appetite
- Delayed growth and puberty
- Enlarged heart, liver
Diagnosing the disease is a very important tool to proceed towards a healthy treatment. It usually involves collection blood sample and screening them for the presence of anemia. The screening will also involve looking the blood cells under a microscope to see if the shape of red blood cells. The presence of abnormally shaped red blood cells is usually an affirmative sign of thalassemia. In order to investigate the type, the hemoglobin electrophoresis is carried out, which involves separating the different component molecules of blood and studying the exact abnormality type.
The occurrence of thalassemia is more prevalent among the people of Greek, Italian, South Asian, Middle Eastern and African descent.
The treatment procedure entirely depends on the severity and type of the thalassemia. Some of the mostly executed treatment procedures include
- Bone marrow transplant
- Blood transfusion
- Medicines and supplements to suppress the effects
- In case, the disease gets to an advanced stage and becomes complicated the doctor might even suggest surgical removal of gallbladder and spleen
The doctor recommends iron supplements and chelation for some period of time, after a blood transfusion. With proper and timely medication one can live a significantly healthy life. However, this means leading an extremely cautious life.