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What is Thalassaemia?

Thalassaemia is a genetic disorder that affects the red blood cells and is passed on from the parents. It is a condition in which the body produces abnormal haemoglobin, resulting in excessive damage of red blood cells which ultimately leads to anaemia.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The symptoms of thalassaemia in some cases are not prominent and visible. However, for the cases in which symptoms do appear, the most common are bone deformities, especially of the face. Other signs of thalassaemia are:

  • Dark urine due to damage of red blood cells
  • Fatigue
  • Yellow or pale skin
  • Delayed growth and development

What are the main causes?

The main cause for the development of this disease is an abnormality in the genes involved in haemoglobin production. The genetic defect is mostly inherited from the parents. In case of only one parent having the condition, the child will be a carrier and may show minor or no signs of the disease. Thalassemia can affect alpha as well as beta chains of the red blood cells. Based on whether the offspring inherits one or two genes from the parents of alpha or beta thalassemia, the symptoms vary from nothing to life-threatening anaemia that needs frequent blood transfusions.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose the condition, the physician will obtain the medical history of the patient as well as the family history and perform a physical examination. If either one or both the parents are carriers or affected by thalassaemia, then the doctor may order a blood test to check for anaemia. The blood sample is also examined under a microscope to look for oddly shaped red blood cells, which is a sign of thalassaemia. The doctor may also order haemoglobin electrophoresis to identify the type of abnormality present in the patient’s blood.

The treatment varies depending on the severity of the symptoms Some of the most common treatment methods are:

  • Blood transfusion
  • Doctors may prescribe supplements such as folic acid, calcium or vitamin D, and insist on limiting iron-rich foods in the diet. Iron supplements must be avoided at all cost
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the spleen.
  1. Medicines for Thalassemia

Medicines for Thalassemia

Medicines listed below are available for Thalassemia. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
AsunraAsunra 100 Mg Tablet220
DesiroxDesirox 250 Mg Tablet632
DesferalDesferal 500 Mg Injection0
KelferKelfer 250 Mg Capsule0

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References

  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Thalassemia.
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Thalassemias.
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Thalassemia.
  4. National Institutes of Health; National Human Genome Research Institute. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; About Thalassemia.
  5. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Thalassemia.
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