World Thalassemia Day: Early Prevention Is The Key

The theme for World Thalassaemia Day 2020 is 'Universal access to quality thalassaemia healthcare services' and here is all that you need to know about this genetic blood disorder and how to prevent it.
Viveka Nagar
By: Viveka Nagar Updated: May 08, 2020 12:51 IST
World Thalassemia Day: Early Prevention Is The Key
World Thalassemia Day: Early Prevention Is The Key

In order to raise awareness about Thalassemia- a genetic blood disorder, World Thalassemia Day is observed on May 8th every year. The day also commemorates Thalassemia victims who battle the disease. 

The objective behind the day is also to make people aware about Thalassemia and how timely medical consultation can help, so that one's kids are not born with the same genetic disorder as theirs.

What is Thalassaemia?

Thalassemia is an autosomal recessive blood disorder or in simple words a genetic blood disorder which reduces the haemoglobin count. A reduced haemoglobin can result in mild or severe anaemia. This blood disorder hampers the protein molecules resulting in weakening and destruction of the Red Blood Cells (RBC), which affect the haemoglobin formation in the body. The protein present in the RBC helps carry oxygen and circulate it in the body. The disease gets transferred from parents to the children. 

Early Thalassemia Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Thalassemia show up depending on the type of Thalassemia you have- mild or severe. Usually the symptoms show up at the time of birth or develop in the first two years of life. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dark urine
  • Slow growth
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Facial bone deformities
  • Poor appetite

Causes of Thalassemia

Thalassemia is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells that form haemoglobin. This genetic disorder is hereditary. Haemoglobin molecules are made of two types proteins: alpha and beta and one requires both for proper oxygen circulation in body. So, if you have an alpha molecule deficiency, you could be suffering from Alpha Thalassemia; and similarly if you have beta molecule deficiency, you could suffer from Beta-Thalassemia.

How To Treat/Prevent Thalassaemia

  • Couples should get Thalassemia test done as only early diagnosis can help prevent the transfer of this haemoglobin gene disorder to a child.
  • Discuss with your doctor and show your concern towards this disease as in most of the cases couples hesitate to do so. This will help you with proper genetic counselling and guide you through Thalassemia treatment in time.
  • If a couple is not aware about this genetic blood disorder and get to know about it at a later stage, they can still treat and prevent it from transferring to their kids by getting complete reproductive technology diagnosis. This screens the embryo in its early development stage and then treats the genetic mutation with the help of IVF. This can result in the expecting parents having a healthy and Thalassaemia-free baby.
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Viveka is known to her friends as a movie junkie who is also a creative fashion enthusiast in red lipstick. She's passionate about writing! Be it fashion, beauty or movies she is pro. In her free time, she loves to play badminton, cook and binge watch movies. She's also a great observer who has a quirky take on various things, well only close ones know this. Nothing stops her from personifying the creative game.