All You Should Know About Thalassemia
Thalassemia is a rare disease that once caused to someone, affects the production of hemoglobin in their body. Hemoglobin helps to transport oxygenated blood in the different organs of the body. When someone encounters a situation like Thalassemia the production of hemoglobin decreases and results in problems like anemia. Some types of Thalassaemia can be very life-threatening while others might not show any symptoms. Usually, someone who has Thalassemia might seem normal as it is not a life-threatening disease but this disease might have some negative effects on the heart after the age of 30.
There are several different types of thalassemia some of which are very complicated while the others are less threading and fatal. Depending upon the type of thalassemia, the symptoms and treatment of this disease vary. Thalassemia treatment cost in India starts from 20,000 USD.
There are some symptoms that each patient might experience. If the symptoms are persistent then a patient should get themselves checked as soon as possible.
- In conditions where a patient experiences thalassemia, they feel weak and tired. Fatigue is a common sign of thalassemia.
- The skin of a thalassemia patient might look more pale or yellowish in color as compared to somebody who is not affected by it.
- Some cases are also found where thalassemia patients have facial bone deformities. Facial distortion is also a symptom of thalassemia.
- The patients experience dark urine and abdominal swelling when suffering from thalassemia.
- Patients with thalassemia experience slow body growth.
The Reasons Why Thalassemia is Caused:
The main cause of thalassemia is an alteration in the genes that help to produce the protein chains in the blood. When there are changes in the protein chains, the amount of oxygen present in the hemoglobin decreases. Depending upon the number of mutations and altered genes the severity of the disease is decided. There are two types of protein chains- alpha and beta. If the alpha genes are altered then Alpha thalassemias occur and if the beta chain is mutated then Beta thalassemias occur.
The severity of the disease depends upon the number of genes that have mutated.
How is Thalassemia diagnosed?
When a patient has thalassemia, the red blood cell count in their body is low when compared to the blood count of a normal person. To diagnose a person experiencing symptoms of Thalassaemia, the doctor advises several blood tests. When the reports arrive, the doctor checks the red blood cell count. To check the type of thalassemia that a person might possess, the hemoglobin is biochemically analyzed. The test helps to determine whether it is alpha or beta-thalassemia. Once the type of disease is diagnosed, then a genetic analysis is further performed to check the severity of the illness too.
Types of complications that arise in Thalassemia-
- Bone deformities: When someone has thalassemia it causes their bone marrow to widen up. Due to this, the bones expand and grow abnormally. Due to bone marrow expansion, the bones become fragile and brittle increasing the change of injuries and fractures.
- Iron Overload: When a patient has thalassemia, they experience Iron overload. In this type of complication, the amount of iron in the body increases to a dangerously high level. It can damage the heart and affect many other body organs as well.
- Enlarged Spleen: The most important function of the spleen is that it helps to fight infections in the body and cleans all the waste from the body. When a person has anemia, their spleen enlarges due to a large number of dead and waste cells. This abnormal enlargement of the spleen can cause problems in the body and thus it needs to be treated.
- Infections: Due to correcting several problems like an enlarged spleen, the patient becomes prone to developing infections.
- Anemia: Anemia is caused when there is a deficiency of red blood cells, when someone has thalassemia, the first symptom is anemia. Severe anemia can cause fatigue and paleness, dizziness and many other problems as well.
How Can Thalassemia be treated?
India is one of the top countries where thalassemia is treated. Unlike other foreign countries, India is known to provide cheap and quality treatment to patients. There are several medical tourism companies in India that help foreign patients find the right hospital and doctor for their treatment. There are different ways in which thalassemia is treated. According to the severity of the disease, the treatments may vary.
Some of the main ways to treat thalassemia and mentioned to you below –
- Bone marrow transplant helps to treat thalassemia patients.
- Blood transfusions can also treat cases of Thalassaemia.
- Surgeries are carried out to remove the gallbladder and to treat thalassemia patients.
Minor thalassemia can also be cured with the help of medication.