What is Thalassaemia ?
The dictionary meaning of Thalassaemia: “an inherited form of anemia caused by faulty synthesis of hemoglobin”. In simple words, the patient’s body is partially or fully unable to produce hemoglobin.
The fatal form of Homozygous Thalassaemia (inherited from both parents), in which there is no hemoglobin, is known as Thalassaemia Major. These conditions can cause varying degree of Anemia, which can range from insignificant asymptomatic issues to life- threatening condition.
Typical problems that a Thalassaemia patient faces include bone deformities, retarded growth, lowered immunity and general weakness. Ironically, these patients are much more susceptible to blood-borne infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
Technically, Thalassaemia has no cure & the only support is regular blood transfusion which needs to start from birth and must continue till the patient survives. Paradoxically, regular transfusion will lead to iron overload in the body, negatively influencing the functions of vital organs like liver, heart and the endocrine system.
The entire process of transfusion, medication and support is not only quite expensive but also very traumatic, since the parents of the patient are mostly aware that rarely do Thalassaemia patients enter their 20’s. The members of the patient’s family are sadly conscious that they are fighting a losing battle.