In India there are estimated 10,000 -12,000 new Thalassemia cases diagnosed every year.
Thalassemia is an inherited Genetic condition of Haemoglobin abnormality. Haemoglobin is made of Alfa and Beta chains. Though there are various types of thalassemia the most common types are Alfa and Beta Thalassemia.
- Thalassemia Trait or Thalassemia Minor means you carry the defective gene but can still make enough red blood cells. Its asymptomatic unless some blood tests( CBC) are done . Many times these patients are wrongly treated as Iron deficiency with Iron suppliments
- Symptomatic Thalassemia: Thalassemia Major There is more than one gene abnormality and most of the Haemoglobin produced is faulty and they become severely anemic by 6 months of age and will need frequent blood transfusions.
Cure:Bone Marrow Transplantation is the cure for these patients. The earlier the transplant is done the better the outcome. But unfortunately very few patients avail this treatment due to lack of awareness and the cost.
Early referral for Bone Marrow Transplant, is the only option to cure. Safe blood transfusions and early initiation of Iron chelation is the key for success.
Dr Padmaja Lokireddy
MD, MRCP, FRCPath(Haematology)
Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills,Hyderabad,India