Alpha Thalassemia Treatment Cost in India
Thalassemia is an inherited blood condition that affects the production of hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells in the body. Alpha and beta thalassemia are two types. Thalassemia can cause anemia-like symptoms that range from mild to severe. Blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy could be employed in alpha thalassemia treatment in India. The best treatment plan for you will be determined by your age, overall health, and medical condition. People with moderate to severe thalassemia require blood transfusions on a regular basis. Another treatment option for people with severe thalassemia is stem cell transplantation.
India is one of the most affordable destinations for multiple treatments. The cost of alpha thalassemia treatment in India is quite low. The cost may also vary depending on other factors such as the number of travelers, the country from which one is traveling, and the number of days spent in India for thalassemia treatment.
What is Alpha Thalassemia?
Thalassemia is a blood disorder that is passed down through families. It affects your body’s ability to produce normal hemoglobin. Red blood cells contain the protein hemoglobin. It enables your red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body, nourishing the cells that need it. When you have thalassemia, your body produces fewer healthy hemoglobin proteins, as well as fewer healthy red blood cells in your bone marrow. Anemia is a condition with fewer red blood cells than normal. Because red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygen to tissues throughout your body, a lack of healthy red blood cells can deprive your body’s cells of the oxygen they require to produce energy and thrive.
Alpha Thalassemia Major (ATM) is an inherited autosomal recessive disease in which two non-functional alpha globin genes are passed down from each parent to the fetus, resulting in the fertilized embryo losing the function of all four alpha globin genes. Pregnancy is at risk for ATM only if both parents have two non-functioning genes, in which case the fetus has a one in four, or 25%, chance of inheriting both sets of non-functioning genes and having ATM.
There are two types of alpha thalassemia that can lead to serious health issues:
- Hemoglobin (Hb) Bart’s hydrops fetalis: Hb Bart’s hydrops fetalis is a severe syndrome that usually kills the developing embryo during pregnancy or shortly after birth; however, recent advances have resulted in better treatments for this condition.
- Hemoglobin H (HbH) disease: HbH disease is highly variable, with symptoms and severity varying greatly from person to person. Some people will experience only minor symptoms, while others may experience potentially serious complications.
What are the Symptoms of Alpha Thalassemia?
Depending on the type of alpha thalassemia inherited, different people will experience different symptoms. The following are examples of common symptoms of alpha thalassemia:
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Facial bone deformities
- Slow growth
- Abdominal swelling
- Dark urine
- Jaundice on a regular basis
- Enlarges liver and spleen
Some babies develop thalassemia symptoms at birth, while others develop them during the first two years of life. Some people with thalassemia do not have symptoms because they only have one affected hemoglobin gene.
What are the Causes of Alpha Thalassemia?
Thalassemia is caused by DNA mutations in cells that produce hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout your body. The mutations that cause thalassemia are passed down from parents to children.
Hemoglobin molecules are made up of alpha and beta chains, which can be altered by mutations. The production of either the alpha or beta chains is reduced in thalassemia, resulting in either alpha-thalassemia or beta-thalassemia.
The severity of thalassemia in alpha-thalassemia is determined by the number of gene mutations inherited from your parents. The more mutated genes you have, the worse your thalassemia will be.
Alpha-thalassemia causes: The alpha hemoglobin chain is produced by four genes. Your parents each give you two. If you receive an inheritance:
- 1- mutated gene: With just one faulty gene, you will have no signs or symptoms of thalassemia. However, you are a carrier of the disease, and can infect your children.
- 2-mutated genes: Because of two faulty genes, your thalassemia signs and symptoms will be mild. This condition could be referred to as the alpha-thalassemia trait.
- 3-mutated genes: Because of three mutated genes, your signs and symptoms will range from mild to severe.
It is quite rare to inherit four mutated genes, which usually results in stillbirth. Babies born with this condition frequently die shortly after birth or require transfusion therapy for the rest of their lives. A child born with this condition can be treated with transfusions and a stem cell transplant in rare cases.
How the Diagnosis of Alpha Thalassemia is Made?
Because symptoms usually appear within the first two years of your child’s life, moderate and severe alpha-thalassemia is frequently diagnosed in childhood.
To diagnose alpha-thalassemia, your doctor may order the following blood tests:
- Complete blood count (CBC): It includes hemoglobin and red blood cell quantity (and size) measurements. Thalassemia patients have fewer healthy red blood cells and less hemoglobin than the general population. They may also have red blood cells that are smaller than normal.
- Low reticulocyte count (a measure of young red blood cells): It could mean that your bone marrow isn’t producing enough red blood cells.
- Iron studies: It will reveal whether your anemia is caused by iron deficiency or thalassemia.
- Hemoglobin electrophoresis: It is used to diagnose alpha-thalassemia.
- Genetic testing: It is used to diagnose alpha thalassemia.
Helpful – All You Should Know About Thalassemia
How is Alpha Thalassemia Treated?
Silent carriers (minima) and people with alpha thalassemia minor do not require treatment. People with alpha thalassemia minor, on the other hand, will have mild anemia for the rest of their lives. Patients with more severe cases may require blood transfusions or chelation therapy.
- Blood Transfusions: HbH disease patients usually have mild anemia that is well tolerated. Transfusions are occasionally required during feverish diseases due to accelerated red blood cell breakdown. Adults may need more frequent transfusions. A more severe form of HbH disease (called Hemoglobin H-Constant Spring disease) can cause significant anemia and necessitate frequent transfusions throughout one’s life.
- Iron chelation therapy: Iron overload can occur in people with HbH disease. This can happen even in the absence of blood transfusions due to increased iron absorption in the small intestine. Chelators are medications that can help the body get rid of excess iron.
- Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation: The only way to cure thalassemia is to receive bone marrow transplant and stem cell transplant from a compatible related donor. Compatibility means that the donor and recipient have the same types of proteins on the surface of their cells, known as human leukocyte antigens (HLA). During the procedure, your doctor will inject bone marrow stem cells from your donor into your bloodstream. Within a month, the transplanted cells will begin to produce new, healthy blood cells.
Mild thalassemia can be treated quickly. Severe thalassemia can take years or even your entire life to cure. You may need to continue receiving blood transfusions on a regular basis.
What are the consequences of thalassemia?
Iron overload can occur as a result of frequent blood transfusions or the disease itself. Iron overload can harm your heart, liver, and endocrine system. Your endocrine system includes glands that produce hormones that regulate bodily processes. If you have a lot of blood transfusions, you may get a lot of severe infections. The infections could be transmitted through the blood you receive during a transfusion. To avoid this, healthcare providers carefully screen donor blood during transfusions.
Remember that for a child to be born with alpha thalassemia, both parents must be carriers. Blood tests can be used to diagnose alpha thalassemia; however, a blood test will not detect it if a person is a silent carrier. If you are a silent carrier, genetic testing can confirm it. If you are concerned about alpha thalassemia, consult your doctor. They might suggest genetic testing and blood work.
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The Most Important Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can alpha thalassemia be cured?
A: The basics of alpha thalassemia Depending on the type of alpha thalassemia inherited, this condition causes mild to severe anaemia. People who have this disease can pass it on to their children. There is no treatment.
Q: How is major alpha thalassemia treated?
A: Blood transfusions and chelation are not effective treatments for alpha thalassemia. A stem cell transplant can cure some people with alpha thalassemia major. A stem cell transplant is a serious procedure fraught with danger. Other treatments for alpha thalassemia are being developed by doctors and scientists.
Q: What foods should I avoid if I have alpha thalassemia?
A: Individuals are encouraged to eat a balanced diet consisting of protein, grains, fruits, and vegetables, and they may need to pay special attention to avoid consuming excessive amounts of iron.
Q: At what age is thalassemia detected?
A: Most children with moderate to severe thalassemia are diagnosed before the age of two. People with no symptoms may not realize they are carriers until they have a child with thalassemia. Blood tests can determine whether a person is a carrier or has the condition.
Q: Is alpha thalassemia a physical disability?
A: Alpha thalassemia X-linked intellectual disability syndrome is an inherited disorder that affects multiple organ systems. This condition affects almost entirely men. Males with alpha thalassemia X-linked intellectual disability syndrome have delayed development and intellectual disability.