ALL ABOUT THALASSEMIA!
One of the many life-taking blood disorders of genetic origin is Thalassemia. In this, the person’s body cannot produce a healthy protein Hemoglobin causing Anemia. There is lack of normal well-functioning red blood cells in the body of the patient with no hemoglobin.
Although it can occur to anyone anywhere, this disorder is most common among patients of certain specific regions. Most prone South European regions like Italy & Greece, Asia, Africa, and Chinese regions.
However, these are more limited regions. The best we can do is to target the most exposed regions to the disease. As a result, a positive outcome among those regions will lower its spread. It will in turn decrease worldwide occurrence of disease.
TYPES OF THALASSEMIA
It often appears as just a normal blood disease to people. But the types of thalassemia have a very sensitive impact on the patients suffering through it.
A normal human cell consists of various genes. A person of the “Minor” type by birth owns one mutated gene. These minor patients are in general “CARRIERS”. The symptoms like anemia for this type of case are very mild or absent. These carriers do not require attention until they have mild anemia symptoms. They might never know their entire lives whether they were the carriers of this disease or not.
This Thalassemia type has often no symptoms. Patients need blood exchange when they develop some infection in the body. When patients are planning for some surgery, it might result in excessive blood loss during the procedure. People might deal with worst symptoms at certain times. They might live a healthy life with no symptoms and no regular need for blood donations.
In the “Major” case, the children by birth own two mutated genes. They very often see a good healthy life ever since their birth. This removes little chances of their happiness and health among their age group. Their body cannot make normal blood cells due to which they experience the symptoms of long-term lethargy and anemia. Less blood for long time promotes early bone weakness and diseases in them. This then becomes the reason for their death in less than 10 years of survival. Blood transfusions at specified durations are the sole solution to fight this fatal disease.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
The exchange of blood at specified times allows suffering patients to remain alive and thrive. But to pay the cost for that, extra iron settles in the body through such blood exchanges on regular basis. Iron resides in short inside patients’ liver and heart. One must maintain iron level of body otherwise increased iron in body can cause early death of the patient.
Today, medicines like Iron Chelators remove extra iron from blood. It has a prominent effect on this fatal disease treatment. Survivors live a competent life; grow well with better liver and heart functions in contrast to severe cases. These treatments increase their life span, allow them to be happy, and build their complete families. New tools develop for a better and healthier future for people with this dangerous blood disorder.
Advanced therapies keep coming but it is sad that a permanent cure is not present anywhere in world. Its first recognition was in the 1970s as a disease within genes. Still, in the 2020s, even the new treatments through genes have not helped cure this disease.
ARE YOU A THALASSEMIA CARRIER?
Many individuals belonging to regions where this blood disorder is common have mutation on one gene (in case of “Minor”). People in brief say that a normal blood test can picture your thalassemia status. Given that, in this disease, using a unique blood test present is the very key to surety. A doctor always asks for “HEMOGLOBIN ELECTROPHORESIS” which tells if you are a carrier of this disease.
You might know anyone with parents, grandparents, or close relatives from a Thalassemia-Common region around the world. PLEASE ASK your doctor for hemoglobin electrophoresis test.
Everyone must make this blood test a common procedure and serve the country. Anyone might suffer in silence from minor. The chance of having a thalassemia major baby for them is one-in-four (25%) if partner is also a minor type.
In case both parents are carriers, the newborn might be a major, a minor, or have no altered gene. 25% chance lies in the newborn being all normal upon each pregnancy. 50% to be a minor type and 25% to be a major type.
Nobody is certain what might happen next. The chances of this disease can cause such sad scenarios which no one prefers facing in their life. Preventing its spread on great scale is certainly possible. Everyone should light upon its inheritance as well as its prevention. A youth free from such diseases is the sole way to a brighter and more successful future for our children. Every little piece of effort from each person to wipe our societies out of this fatal disorder is must.
Preventive measures are a must to take action to prevent any incident. Each one of us must know about the disease and the ways to stop it from affecting our society. Let the people around you whom you care about stay safe. Advice your mates, relatives, colleagues, or anyone who might be at its risk in a disease-prone region. Do not forget to visit a doctor and get a blood test for the minor type. The more the world gets to know about this, the more the future of our children stays healthy and prospers!