World Thalassemia Day - What you should know !

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
World Thalassemia Day was observed on 8th May, 2012 to spread awareness about this inheritable blood disease.
Thalassemia is a blood disorder characterized by abnormal form of hemoglobin, a blood protein whose function is to carry oxygen to the tissues.
It is a inheritable disease, means it is transfered from the parents to the children if either of the parents is affected.
In Pakistan, according to unofficial stats about 1 million people suffer from this disease.

Types
Hemoglobin protein has got two types of chains,
Alpha chain : whose deficiency results in Alpha Thalassemia.
Beta chain : whose deficiency results in Beta Thalassemia.
Thalassemia major results from complete absence of either of two chains, and in Thalassemia minor there is decreased production of one of them.

Symptoms
Growth Failure
Abnormal Bones
Shortness of Breath
Yellow Skin

Investigations
A complete blood count shows small , abnormal shaped red blood cells.

Treatment
Thalassemia major requires frequent blood transfusions
While Thalassemia minor doesn't require any treatment.

Complications
They include Heart and liver problems like Heart Failure & Hepatitis C. Iron overload commonly occurs due to frequent blood transfusions.

Prevention
A simple blood test called Hemoglobin electrophoresis can detect this abnormal form of hemoglobin. It should be done by both of the partners who intend to marry. If any one of them is detected to be having Thalassemia, genetic counseling should be availed from a health care professional to prevent the transmission of Thalassemia to their future offsprings.

What you can do:
We can help them by donating blood. Donating blood at least once a year won't harm you & will also make their life easy.

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