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What Is Thalassemia?


Hit-topic.tk - Talasemia is a hereditary blood disorder that causes your body to produce less hemoglobin or abnormal hemoglobin. Hemoglobin helps red blood cells spread oxygen in your body. The low level of hemoglobin can cause anemia, a disease that makes you feel weak and tired. Severe anemia can damage organs and cause death. 

What Type of Thalassemia?

There are two main types of thalassemia, namely alpha and beta. The most common is beta thalassemia.  Beta Thalassemia  You need alpha and beta-globin to make hemoglobin. Beta thalassemia occurs when one or both of the two genes that make beta-globin do not work or only partially work.
   
If you have one damaged gene, then you may have mild anemia and may not require treatment. This condition is called beta thalassemia minor or beta thalassemia trait. Beta-minor thalassemia occurs when you get a normal gene from one parent and the thalassemia gene from the other.
   
When both genes are damaged, that means you get thalassemia genes from both parents. You may have moderate or severe anemia.       
  • If you have a moderate anemia (called beta thalassemia intermedia), you may need a blood transfusion.
  • While people with severe anemia (called beta thalassemia major or Cooley anemia) require lifelong blood transfusions. Anemia symptoms usually begin within a few months after birth.
Alpha Thalassemia  This type of thalassemia occurs when one or more of the four alpha-globin genes that make the hemoglobin are lost or damaged.
  • If one gene is missing or damaged: your red blood cells may be smaller than normal. You will not experience any symptoms and will not require treatment. However, you are a silent carrier, which means you do not have thalassemia disease, but can lower the damaged gene to your child.
  • If two genes are missing or damaged: you will have a very mild anemia and usually do not require treatment. This condition is called alpha thalassemia minor or alpha thalassemia trait.
  • If three genes are missing: you will experience mild to severe anemia. This is sometimes referred to as H hemoglobin disease. If it is severe, you may need blood transfusion.
  • If all four genes are missing: This is called alpha thalassemia major or hydrops fetalis. The fetus will be stillborn, or the child will die soon after birth.
What Causes Thalassemia?

The cause is a defect in one or more genes.  If you plan to become pregnant, but your parents or relatives have thalassemia or carriers of thalassemia gene, you may want to consult with a genetic counselor before you pregnant. Genetic counselors can tell you how likely your child will have thalassemia and how severe the disease is.

What are the symptoms of thalassemia?

mild thalassemia usually causes no symptoms. A moderate or severe thalassemia can cause anemia. For example, you may feel weak, tired easily tired, and feel short of breath. Other symptoms can also occur depending on how severe your thalassemia and thalassemia caused problems.  The children with severe thalassemia can grow slowly (fail to grow), have abnormally shaped skull bones, and have problems with eating, frequent fevers, and diarrhea.

How to Diagnose Thalassemia?

The doctor will check and ask about your medical history. Examinations that may be required include:
  • Complete blood count.
  • A genetic test to see if you have a gene that causes thalassemia.
  • Iron grade test.
  • A blood test that measures the number of different types of hemoglobin to help determine what type of thalassemia you have.
If you have thalassemia, then your other family members should consult a doctor for an examination.
How is Thalassemia Management?

Treatment of thalassemia depends on how severe your condition.   Most health centers have treatment centers for blood disorders, and can help you and your family get the best care.

  • Mild thalassemia is the most common form of thalassemia. This thalassemia does not require treatment.
  • Moderate thalassemia can be treated with blood transfusions and folic acid supplements. Folic acid is the vitamin your body needs to produce red blood cells.
Severe thalassemia can be treated by:
  • Blood transfusion.
  • Folic acid.
  • Drugs used for chemotherapy. These medications help your body to make normal hemoglobin.
If you have had recurrent blood transfusions, your body may have too much iron content. Excessive iron can damage your organs, especially the liver.  Make sure to avoid iron-rich vitamins, and do not take extra vitamin C because it can increase how much iron you absorb from food. \ n If you have too much iron, your doctor may give you chelation therapy, a drug that helps reduce iron from your body.  Anonymous treatment for severe thalassemia among others:
  • Bone marrow or blood cell stem cell transplant
  • Surgery to remove the spleen.
Get a flu vaccine every year and talk to your doctor about getting a pneumococcal vaccine. The vaccines can protect you from severe infections, which can make the anemia worse and cause severe disease in people with thalassemia.

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