Everything You Need to Know About Thalassemia
As a result of a genetic defect, the body’s hemoglobin produces an abnormal form known as thalassemia. Red blood cells carry oxygen through hemoglobin, a protein molecule. This disorder leads to excessive destruction of red blood cells, resulting in anemia. You are considered a thalassemia carrier if at least one of your parents is.
Types of Thalassemia:
A minor form of this disorder is called thalassemia minor. It is essential to differentiate between two different types of thalassemia.
Alpha globin protein chains are made from four genes, two from each parent. The genetic condition can cause alpha thalassemia if there are 1 or more missing genes. Alpha thalassemia is characterized by at least one mutation or abnormality in the alpha-globin gene.
Usually, both parents contribute to beta-globin production. However, during beta-thalassemia, one of the beta-globin genes is altered, or both of them are altered.
Symptoms of Alpha Thalassemia:
Typically, silent carriers (people whose alpha gene is missing) do not experience any symptoms. However, symptoms of hemoglobin H disease can occur at birth, and lifelong anemia can occur with the disease.
Symptoms of Beta Thalassemia:
There are various symptoms of beta-thalassemia, including growth disorders, bone abnormalities, and splenomegaly (expansion of the organ in the abdomen that fights infection).
The disease, or frequent blood transfusions, can make people with thalassemia gain too much iron in their bodies (iron overload). As a result, your endocrine system, including the glands that produce hormones that regulate your body’s activities, is damaged by too much iron.
Individuals with thalassemia run the risk of developing severe infections. It is possible that the infection is carried in the blood these patients receive from blood transfusions, explaining the high number of such projects these patients need.
Treatments of Thalassemia:
Transfusion and iron chelation are the two main treatments for patients with thalassemia major. Science is actively researching to come up with medicines to cure this disease. Medical Centers in the UAE offer diagnostic and treatment services for thalassemia.
The goal of blood transfusion is to restore normal healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin levels by injecting red blood cells into a vein. Those with moderate or severe thalassemias receive blood transfusions every 4 months, and those with beta-thalassemia major receive blood transfusions every 2 to 4 weeks. In addition, hemoglobin H disease or beta-thalassemia intermedia may require occasional transfusions (for instance, in times of infection).
Removal Of Excess Iron
Chelation of iron is the process of removing excess iron from the body. It is possible to adversely affect other organs due to iron overload caused by blood transfusions. It is possible to provide iron chelation therapy to patients with frequent transfusions through pills.
Taking folic acid supplements and monitoring B12 levels are crucial to maintaining good blood cell health, as these nutrients are crucial in making healthy blood cells.
Bone marrow and stem cell transplant
Thalassemia can be cured only through a related donor’s stem cell and bone marrow transplant. A stem cell transplant is the most effective course of treatment. It means that the donor’s cells have the same types of proteins as the person who will receive the transplant, such as human leukocyte antigens (HLA). Bone marrow transplantation from a compatible brother or sister is the most effective treatment option. Fortunately, most patients with thalassemia do not have siblings who can donate. In these cases, bone marrow transplants are carried out in hospitals. One month after transplantation, the bone marrow stem cells will begin making new, healthy blood cells. Bone marrow transplants are not routinely recommended for people with mild or moderate thalassemia because of the high risks involved.
Genetic causes are responsible for thalassemia. The condition is caused by mutated genes that cause your hemoglobin to change. It is congenital. A cold or the flu are not infectious diseases like thalassemia.
Thalassemia may run in your family if both your parents have it. Thalassemia is a blood disorder caused by two or more copies of abnormal genes inherited from your parents, depending on which type of protein is affected.