Thalassemia patient doesn’t have the ability to produce a normal amount of hemoglobin as well as red blood cells and it is a genetic or inherited disease. It is considered a life-threatening disease.
Types of Thalassemia
Alpha Thalassemia: Hemoglobin is not able to produce sufficient alpha protein. For producing alpha protein chain four genes are needed that we get from our parents as two genes from each parent. But, for the missing of one or more genes, alpha thalassemia is caused. Depending on the number of faulty genes, this affects as severe. Presence of one or two faulty genes is considered as minor thalassemia. Regular transfusion of blood is needed during the entire life for the presence of three faulty genes, but the presence of four faulty genes is life-threatening.
Beta Thalassemia: Two globin genes are needed for making beta protein chains that we get from each parent as one from each. Beta thalassemia caused for one or both faulty genes. Presence both faulty genes are termed as severe.
Symptoms of Thalassemia: After the age of 6 months of a baby the symptoms of thalassemia may be appearing. These symptoms are chest pain, fatigue, drowsiness, short breathing, pale skin, the coldness of hand and feet, cramping of the leg, headaches, reduction of growth, heart beat rapidly, frequently faintness etc.
Causes of Thalassemia: In our body hemoglobin protein which is present in red blood cells, helps to carry oxygen to the cells. Bone marrow produces red blood cells as well as hemoglobin with the presence of iron in our food. When people suffer from thalassemia, bone marrow in their body is not able to produce sufficient hemoglobin as well as red blood cells. As result of this, it also leads to anemia as well as fatigue.
Diagnosis: This disease can be detected by the blood test, like CBC (Complete blood count), reticulocyte count. Analysis of DNA will help to identify the presence of faulty genes. Prenatal testing will help to determine the severity of this disease. CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) is made by removing a part of the placenta at 11 weeks of the pregnant mother. Amniocentesis is made by a little amount of amniotic fluid at the 16th week of pregnancy period.
Treatment of Thalassemia: Depending on the severity and types, different treatments are available for this disease.
- Transfusion of blood: Transfusion of blood for eight times in a year is essential for the minor type of thalassemia, whereas eight to twelve times of blood transfusion is required for the major type of thalassemia.
- Chelation of iron: The excess amount of iron is removed by this process to prevent the overloading of iron that may cause damage to the heart and several organs. It is also essential after the transfusion of blood.
- Transplantation of bone marrow or stem cell: Transplantation of bone marrow from the suitable donor will help to give an effective treatment, as the bone marrow helps to produce RBC, WBC, platelets, and hemoglobin.
- Surgery: This is needed for the correction of abnormalities of bones.
- Gene Therapy: Investigation is going on by the scientists where a normal beta-globin protein gene is inserted into the patient’s bone marrow to overcome the severe condition of this disease.
All of these treatments are available in India. The various sites will give you detailed information on thalassemia treatment cost in India.