What is Thalassemia Major and How does a Person get Afflicted?

An autosomal recessive single gene blood disorder,Thalassemia Major affects over 100,000 children in India alone. You can detect Thalassemia Major in children between the ages of 3 and 6 months.

Thalassemia Major is the inability to produce an appropriate amount of haemoglobin as a result of which,different tissues and cells do not get oxygen. Children who are diagnosed with Thalassemia Major are dependent on lifelong blood transfusions.

Repeated blood transfusions cause an unwanted rise of iron in the body which can be fatal. Children diagnosed with Thalassemia Major, are required to take either injections or medicines daily to dispose of the excess iron and need to be monitored periodically for other complications.

Day Care Centres play a very important role in monitoring the children. Registering the children with Day Care Centres can ensure comprehensive and holistic treatment.

Blood Transfusion, iron chelation, and managing of complications, take care of the conventional treatment of children suffering from Thalassemia Major. This of course is a lifelong treatment. The only permanent cure available today is a Stem Cell Transplant, for which an HLA matched donor is required.

A child with Thalassemia Major is born only if both parents are Thalassemia Minors (also known as Carriers). The parents are usually unaware that they are Thalassemia Minors, because most Thalassemia Minors are normal, healthy people and will continue to be healthy.

There are an estimated 40 million Indians who are Thalassemia Minors. Almost all of them are completely unaware of this. There are only two ways of finding out if you are a Thalassemia Minor:

1. By doing a blood test for Thalassemia Minor
2. After giving birth to a Thalassemia Major child

Unfortunately most people find out that they are Thalassemia Minors only after the birth of their Thalassemia Major Child. The birth of a child with Thalassemia Major can be avoided if both parents are aware that they are Thalassemia Minors which can simply be done with a medical test.

To know more about Thalassemia Major click here.


Source: This information has been provided by the Think Foundation.