What is thalassemia?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that is passed down in families. In this condition, the body starts making an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a natural protein found in red blood cells. The main function of this protein pigment is to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In this blood disorder, there is destruction of large number of red blood cells that can produce anemia. It is a serious health disorder.

Causes of Thalassemia

It occurs due to defective production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is made of two kinds of proteins: Alpha globing and Beta globin. When there is a defect in a gene that controls the formation of any one of these proteins, it results in thalassemia. Likewise, thalassemia may also be divided in two different types:

Alpha Thalassemia: It occurs when there is defect in the gene that produces this type of hemoglobin in the body.

BetaThalassemia: It occurs when there is a defect in the gene that produces beta globin protein.

Each alpha and beta thalassemia may be further divided into Thalassemia major and Thalassemia minor. People who develop thalassemia major receive a faulty gene from both parents and people who develop thalassemia minor receive faulty gene only from one parent. People suffering from thalassemia minor do not produce any symptoms.

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Thalassemia symptoms

Babies suffering from the most severe form of alpha major thalassemia do not survive. It causes still birth. Children suffering from thalassemia major are born normal but they develop anemia after first year of life. Other thalassemia symptoms are:

  • Deformities in the face
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Failure to grow naturally
  • Shortness of breath
  • Yellow skin or jaundice may be present
  • Poor appetite
  • Frequent skin infections are common

Thalassemia treatment

People suffering from thalassemia major often need regular blood transfusions and iron supplements. People who receive regular blood transfusions should not take iron supplements to avoid high amount of iron in the body. Generally, people who receive regular blood transfusions have to take chelating remedies to remove excess iron from the body.

People suffering from anemia can also take home remedies to build up new red blood cells and to get rid of anemia. There are many useful home remedies that may help in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

Home remedies for Thalassemia

  • Thalassemia patients should avoid taking iron rich foods as it can create other health problems. Foods such as peanut butter, pork, watermelon, peas, spinach, broccoli, etc. should be avoided.
  • Calcium is an important nutrient for thalassemia patients. Foods such as almonds, sesame seeds, figs, oranges, soy beans, kale, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, etc. are useful.
  • On should consume a balanced and healthy diet to enhance the body’s immune system. It gives relief from weakness and fatigue.
  • People with thalassemia should consume milk and eat other dairy products to get rid of thalassemia symptoms.
  • Avoid eating junk food as these can make your body more fragile and weak. Tinned and canned foods should also be avoided.
  • Eat one teaspoon of honey two times in a day with a glass of hot milk to get rid of thalassemia symptoms.

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