World Thalassemia Day 2017: Causes and Symptoms of This Blood Disease

Today marks World Thalassemia Day, which is a dangerous genetic disorder that is said to affect about 10,000 children in India every year. Here are causes and symptoms.

NDTV Food Desk  |  Updated: May 08, 2017 15:35 IST

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World Thalassemia Day 2017: Causes and Symptoms of This Blood Disease
Highlights
  • 8th May marks World Thalassemia Day, which is a genetic blood disorder
  • The highest number of Thalassemia cases is found to be in India
  • Thalassemia is a disease which is inherited from parents
Today marks World Thalassemia Day, which is a dangerous genetic disorder that is said to affect about 10,000 children in India every year. Thalassemia is a blood disease which is inherited from parents, especially when both are carriers of the defective gene. Most pregnancy-related tests today include a genetic blood test to check if parents or grandparents contain any abnormal red blood cells, as this blood disorder is characterised by abnormal haemoglobin production. Haemoglobin are protein molecules in the red blood cells that are responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. With grwoing number of Thalassemia cases in India, it is important to spread awareness about the disease and encourage treatment.

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Jagat Prakash Nadda, tweeted today urging everyone to spread awareness of the disease to make the world free of Thalassemia. Recent reports point out that a large number of children who suffer from the disease die before the age of 20 due to the lack of treatment. While talking of deadly diseases, the focus is most often restricted to diabetes, cancer, heart ailments, etc. But it's time even conditions like these are spoken more about.


What is Thalassemia and What are its Causes?

Thalassemia is a blood disorder, which is inherited from parents. There are three main types of Thalassemia - Alpha, Beta and Haemoglobin E (HbE). The severity depends on how many of the genes are missing from each type. This condition is caused due to gene mutation or deletion of key gene fragments.

A person is likely to inherit a severe form of the disease if both the parents are carriers of the disease. If only one parent is a carrier, then the child may not show symptoms but will be a carrier of the disease.

blood sample

Symptoms of Thalassemia



There are various symptoms of Thalassemia depending on the severity of the disease, which are similar to those suffering from anaemia. Some of the common symptoms include -

  • Bone disorders
  • Slow growth and development
  • Yellowish or pale skin
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Abdominal swelling
blood
 

Treatment of Thalassemia



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According to a tweet by National Health Portal, Thalassemia patients can live a healthy life if they undergo universal vaccination and eat nutritious meals.

There are different kinds of treatment for Thalassemia based on the severity of the disease. In most severe cases, it involves blood transfusion, iron chelation or even bone marrow transplant.



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