On World Thalassaemia Day ,India assesses the spread of disorder in the country

On World Thalassaemia Day ,India assesses the spread of disorder in the country

New Delhi,May8: Every year, May 8 is observed as World Thalassaemia Day across the globe. The main goal of the observation of the day is to raise awareness about the disease and other fatal diseases, making the world a better place to live on.

What is thalassemia?
Thalassemia is a group of inherited blood disorders in which abnormal hemoglobin is formed in the body. There are three main forms of thalassemia – alpha thalassemia, beta thalassemia, and thalassemia minor.

People suffering from thalassemia have less hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells, which lead to anemia.

Your chances of inheriting a serious form of the disease is high if both of your parents are carriers of thalassemia. It is the most common genetic disorder that gets transferred to children from parents through genes.

What is the status of thalassemia in India?
India, considered to be the capital of thalassaemia, sees some 10,000 children born with the condition every year. However, the disease is still overlooked when we talk about the burden of the disease in the country. Of these, 50 percent die before the age of 20 due to poverty and lack of treatment. Reportedly, about four million Indians are thalassemia carriers and over 1, 00,000 patients.

Furthermore, a study conducted by Metropolis Healthcare – a global chain of pathology labs and diagnostic centres – was found that one in every two women in India is anemic.

Unfortunately, there is no prevention and control programme at the national level.

There are almost 19 percent of the people who are the Thalassemia carrier in the Country of Saudi Arabia. World Thalassemia Day makes the people to come across every idea and plans to remove and cure the Thalassemia Disease from the World.

Symptoms of thalassemia

Thalassaemia is a disease of the blood causing destruction (haemolysis) of the red blood cells resulting in deficiency of haemoglobin.  Haemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells. Because of lack of haemoglobin, the oxygen supply becomes affected and results in anaemic condition.

Thalassaemia is a genetic disease, which is inherited or passed on from parents to children. However, in order to get disease, both the parents must carry a defective gene which is called autosomal recessive.   We can understand thalassaemia trait with this example, red and blue are carriers of the defective gene (thalassaemia trait) individuals. Red is thalassaemia major, blue is normal.

There are three types of Thalassaemia :

  • Thalassaemia trait/minor- Patient with mild anaemia
  • Thalassaemia intermediate-  Patient may be treated with occassional or regular blood transfusion.
  • Thalassaemia major – Pateint suffers from severe anaemia that may need regular transfusions in order to survive or a bone marrow transplant.


The early symptoms are growth delay, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath and yellow discolouration of skin. Due to thalassaemia, one can also suffer from excessive iron in blood (due to blood transfusion), bone deformities, heart problems, various infections, and enlarged spleen. During early stages of thalassaemia, a person suffers from anaemia.

Since Thalassaemia is a genetic problem, it is difficult to prevent it. The best way to prevent this problem is providing genetic counselling before marriage and definitely during the pregnancy. Instead of traditional horoscope, it may be desirable to supplement genetic test (Genetic Kundli)

However, the disease can be managed by treatments such as :

  • Medication
  • Carrier detection
  • Bone marrow transplant

A healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. A thalassaemic patient can manage this disorder by healthy lifestyle

Tips for Thalassaemia patients

  • Follow universal immunization to prevent  exposure from infections
  • Eating   food  low in iron is good as the patients undergo frequent blood transfusion
  • Healthy diet and regular exercise also help  to fight with this disease.
  • Love and support of family and  friends

Signs of thalassemia also tend to develop later in childhood or adolesence.

Treatment options
The treatment for thalassemia depends on the type and severity of the disorder involved. For instance, treatment for those with more severe form of the disease includes –

Blood transfusions
Bone marrow transplant
Medications and supplements – iron chelation (removal of excess iron from the body with special drugs)
Possible surgery to remove the spleen or gallbladder
Thalassemia is most common in African, Mediterranean and Asian countries. Both males and females have similar rates of the disorder.

There are any types of Thalassemia such as Beta Thalassemia, Delta Thalassemia and Thalassemia of Alpha. There is also a Mixture of many Hemoglobinopathies like Hemoglobin S, E, D and C. Thalassemia is found in many 1 to 2 years of Children’s. There are many Mild Thalassemia which cannot be diagnose without the help of Blood test of the CBC. Thalassemia is also treated by the Transfusion of the Blood, Vitamins Supplement of the B Group, Blood as well as Therapy of the Blood Chelation. For maintaining the normal Haemoglobin level and also RBC’s which are Healthy.