World Thalassemia Day: Everything you must Know about the Fatal Disease

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 08, 2015

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Quick Bites

  • Thalassemia is an inherited condition.
  • Abnormal form of hemoglobin in produced in body.
  • Destruction of red blood cells takes place.
  • Treatment depends on the type.

Set by the World Health Organization, May 8th each year is celebrated as the World Thalassemia Day to raise awareness about the disease, how to prevent it and how is it transmitted. So, on this day here we bring to you everything about the disease which you must know to stay aware.

Thalassemia Awareness

What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder, in which the body starts making an abnormal form of hemoglobin. The condition results in excessive destruction of red blood cells causing anemia. The disorder also deprives the body of normal, healthy red blood cells.

It is an inherited disease, which means at least one of the parents must be the carrier of this condition.

Causes and the Risk Factors

The condition usually occurs when an abnormality or mutation takes place in one of the genes involved in the production of hemoglobin. The defect is inherited from parents.

In cases where only one of the parents is a carrier of thalassemia, you may develop the disease called thalassemia minor. In such cases, most probably no symptoms will be seen. However, some people might experience minor symptoms.

If both the parents are carriers of thalassemia, the child has 25 percent chances of inheriting serious form of the disease.

Symptoms of Thalassemia

The symptoms of thalassemia completely depend on its type. While patients with thalassemia minor usually experience minor or no symptoms at all, the serious type of thalassemia can be categorized as thalassemia major and thalassemia intermedia.

Thalassemia Awareness

The symptoms of thalassemia major start appearing usually before the child’s second year of birth. The severe anemia which is related to this condition can be life threatening for the patient.

Thalassemia intermedia is comparatively a less severe form of beta thalassemia. Although people with this type of thalassemia suffer from anemia, blood transfusion is not needed in these cases.

Thalassemia Treatment

Treatment of the condition entirely depends on the type and severity of disease. The course of treatment will include:

  • Blood transfusion
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Medications and supplements
  • Possible surgery to remove spleen and/or gallbladder

Image source: Getty Images

Read more on Blood Diseases

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