About the disease
Thalassemia is a condition, whereas blood creates the abnormal form of hemoglobin. This condition is inherited and if both parents of a child have thalassemia a child is likely to inherit a more severe case of thalassemia.
In thalassemia blood creates the abnormal form of hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells. In people with thalassemic red blood cells are destructed by the abnormal form of hemoglobin. As a result, a person has low amount of red blood cells in the blood. This can lead to anemia in severe cases.
The cause of thalassemia genetic mutation. A child can inherit thalassemia even if only one of his/her parents have thalassemia. There are three main types of thalassemia: type alpha, type beta and type minor. The minor type of thalassemia is less dangerous that alpha and beta types, as in those two types either alpha globin or beta globin genes are affected by the mutation. In minor types of thalassemia a person may not even have symptoms of this disease or they will be very minor. Nonetheless, this person still is a carrier of thalassemia and can pass this condition to their children, especially if his/her partner also has thalassemia . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this disease is most predominant in Asian and Middle East countries.
- Deformities of bones
- Delayed growth of bones and general development
- In some cases dark urine
- During a general examination a doctor will ask about the family history of a patient to determine if parents have thalassemia. A doctor will also examine the skin of a patient and inquire about his/her stamina and overall health condition.
- A blood tests is used to determine if a person has thalassemia. Blood tests can determine the type of thalassemia as well. A hemoglobin is separated from other molecules to determine the type of its abnormality.
- An imaging tests are used to determine if the spleen of a patient is enlarged due to thalassemia.
- Conservative treatment uses prescription of different vitamins and supplements which contain iron. Blood transfusions are recommended in some cases as well.
- Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation is a surgery used to transplant the bone marrow and thus normalize the blood cell production and also remove the defect of hemoglobin abnormality.