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Thalassemia Treatment

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Find out what Thalassemia is all about ? How is it treated ? Why you should travel to India for Thalassemia treatment ? How Treatment Assistance can help you at every step so that you can have a great experience traveling to India for your Thalassemia treatment ?

What is Thalassemia ?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder characterized by less hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells in your body than normal. Several types of Thalassemia exist, including Alpha-Thalassemia, Beta-Thalassemia. Beta-Thalassemia is also called Cooley’s anemia and Mediterranean anemia.Hemoglobin is the substance in your red blood cells that carries oxygen. The low hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells of Thalassemia causes anemia, leaving you fatigued.If you have mild Thalassemia, you may not need treatment. But, if you have a more severe form of thalassemia, you may need regular blood transfusions.

What are the symptoms of Thalassemia ?

Signs and symptoms of Thalassemia include the following.

The signs and symptoms you experience depend on the type and severity of Thalassemia you have. Some babies show signs and symptoms of Thalassemia at birth, while others may develop signs or symptoms during the first two years of life. Some people who have only one affected hemoglobin gene don’t experience any Thalassemia symptoms.

What are the causes of Thalassemia ?

Thalassemia is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells that make hemoglobin — the substance in your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. The mutations associated with Thalassemia are passed from parents to children.The mutations that cause Thalassemia disrupt the normal production of hemoglobin and cause low hemoglobin levels and a high rate of red blood cell destruction, causing anemia. When you’re anemic, your blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues — leaving you fatigued.

What are the types of Thalassemia ?

The type of thalassemia you have depends on the number of gene mutations you inherit from your parents and which part of the hemoglobin molecule is affected by the mutations. The more mutated genes, the more severe your thalassemia. Hemoglobin molecules are made of alpha and beta parts that can be affected by mutations.

Four genes are involved in making the alpha hemoglobin chain. You get two from each of your parents. If you inherit:

A.One mutated gene, you’ll have no signs or symptoms of Thalassemia. But, you’re a carrier of the disease and can pass it on to your children.
B.Two mutated genes, your Thalassemia signs and symptoms will be mild. This condition may be called Alpha-Thalassemia minor, or you may be told you have an alpha-Thalassemia trait.
C.Three mutated genes, your signs and symptoms will be moderate to severe. This condition is also called hemoglobin H disease.
D.Four mutated genes, the condition is called Alpha-Thalassemia major or hydrops fetalis. It usually causes a fetus to die before delivery or a newborn to die shortly after birth.
Two genes are involved in making the beta hemoglobin chain. You get one from each of your parents. If you inherit:

A.One mutated gene, you’ll have mild signs and symptoms. This condition is called Beta-Thalassemia minor or referred to as a Beta-Thalassemia trait.
B.Two mutated genes, your signs and symptoms will be moderate to severe. This condition is called beta-Thalassemia major or Cooley’s anemia. Babies born with two defective beta hemoglobin genes usually are healthy at birth, but develop signs and symptoms within the first two years of life.

What are the risk factors of Thalassemia ?

Factors that increase your risk of thalassemia include the following.

What are the complications of Thalassemia ?

Possible complications of Thalassemia include:

In cases of severe Thalassemia, the following complications can occur:

When to see a doctor?

Make an appointment with your child’s doctor for an evaluation if he or she has any signs or symptoms that worry you.People with moderate to severe forms of thalassemia are usually diagnosed within the first two years of life. If you’ve noticed some of the signs and symptoms of thalassemia in your infant or child, see your family doctor or pediatrician. You may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in blood disorders (hematologist).Because appointments can be brief, and there’s often a lot of ground to cover, it’s a good idea to be well prepared. Here’s some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For thalassemia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask questions during your appointment anytime you don’t understand something.

What to expect from your doctor?

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

What are the tests used to diagnosis Thalassemia ?

Most children with moderate to severe Thalassemia show signs and symptoms within their first two years of life. If your doctor suspects your child has Thalassemia, he or she may confirm a diagnosis using blood tests.If your child has Thalassemia, blood tests may reveal the following.

Blood tests may also be used to do the following.

Prenatal testing

Testing can be done before a baby is born to find out if it has Thalassemia and determine how severe it may be. Tests used to diagnose Thalassemia in fetuses include:

What are the treatment options available to treat Thalassemia ?

Assisted reproductive technology :

A form of assisted reproductive technology that combines pre-implantation genetic diagnosis with in vitro fertilization may help parents who have thalassemia or who are carriers of a defective hemoglobin gene give birth to healthy babies. The procedure involves retrieving mature eggs from a woman and fertilizing them with a man’s sperm in a dish in a laboratory. The embryos are tested for the defective genes, and only those without genetic defects are implanted in the woman.

Treatments and drugs :

Treatment for Thalassemia depends on which type you have and how severe it is.

Treatments for mild Thalassemia :

Signs and symptoms are usually mild with thalassemia minor and little, if any, treatment is needed. Occasionally, you may need a blood transfusion, particularly after surgery, after having a baby or to help manage thalassemia complications.

Treatment for moderate to severe Thalassemia :

 Treatments for moderate to severe Thalassemia may include the following.

More-severe forms of thalassemia often require frequent blood transfusions, possibly every few weeks. Over time, blood transfusions cause a buildup of iron in your blood, which can damage your heart, liver and other organs. To help your body get rid of the extra iron, you may need to take medications that rid your body of extra iron.
Also called a bone marrow transplant, a stem cell transplant may be used to treat severe Thalassemia in select cases. Prior to a stem cell transplant, you receive very high doses of drugs or radiation to destroy your diseased bone marrow. Then you receive infusions of stem cells from a compatible donor. However, because these procedures have serious risks, including death, they’re generally reserved for people with the most severe disease who have a well-matched donor available — usually a sibling.

What are the lifestyle modifications and home remedies for Thalassemia ?

Unless your doctor recommends it, don’t take vitamins or other supplements that contain iron.
Eating a balanced diet that contains plenty of nutritious foods can help you feel better and boost your energy. Your doctor may also recommend you take a folic acid supplement to help your body make new red blood cells. Also, to keep your bones healthy, make sure your diet contains adequate calcium and vitamin D. Ask your doctor what the right amounts are for you, and whether you need to take a supplement.
Protect yourself from infections with frequent hand-washing and by avoiding sick people. This is especially important if you’ve had to have your spleen removed. You’ll also need an annual flu shot, as well as the meningitis, pneumococcal and hepatitis B vaccines to prevent infections. If you develop a fever or other signs and symptoms of an infection, see your doctor for treatment.

Coping and support

Coping with thalassemia can be challenging. But, you don’t have to do it alone. If you have questions or would like guidance, talk with a member of your health care team. You may also benefit from joining a support group. Such a group can provide both sympathetic listening and useful information.


In most cases, Thalassemia can’t be prevented. If you have Thalassemia, or if you carry a Thalassemia gene, consider talking with a genetic counselor for guidance before you have or father a child.

How to Get Started ?

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