Beta thalassemia is one of the diseases that could lead to serious damage to your body. But most of the people have never really heard about it or they don’t know really about Beta-thalassemia.
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that happens when the body doesn’t make enough protein is called hemoglobin or red blood cells. Hemoglobin is an iron-containing protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. The mutation that associate with thalassemia from parents to children.
The symptoms and signs of thalassemia can depend on the type and severity of the condition.
Some symptoms are dark urine, slow growth, pale or yellowish skin, fatigue, abdominal swelling, facial bone deformities, weakness. To know more about the types of thalassemia and beta-thalassemia keep reading this blog.
What Is Beta Thalassemia?
Beta thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder, which reduces the production of hemoglobin. Inherited means that at least one of the parents must be a carrier of this disorder.
People who suffer from beta-thalassemia can have a low level of hemoglobin in the blood. Because of that oxygen could not be supplied to every part of the body and hence a person would always have a lack of oxygen in many body parts
The abnormal hemoglobin can lead to anemia and some other medical issues. Anemia is a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough normal or healthy red blood cells.
This disease also causes by either a genetic mutation or a deletion of certain key gene fragments.
In the case of beta-thalassemia, the bone marrow present in the body is unable to produce a normal amount of beta-globin resulting in little or no hemoglobin.
Who Is At Risk in Beta Thalassemia?
Beta thalassemia is an inherited condition that requires both parents to be carriers of the disorder called beta-thalassemia minor or trait.
When both parents have the beta-thalassemia trait. Those parents can have a one in four chance of having a child with beta-thalassemia disease.
Because the beta-thalassemia trait causes no symptoms and the parents may be unaware of this risk before pregnancy.
It is classified in two ways by transfusion need or by genetic mutation inherited. The types of beta-thalassemia are:
1. Beta Zero thalassemia: The zero of the beta zero mutation indicates that no beta-globin can be produced by the chromosome.
2. Beta plus Thalassemia: Beta globin is produced in a reduced amount. The amounts of beta-globin that can be produced vary greatly with the particular mutation inherited. But sometimes mutation produces almost no beta-globin and making them clinically similar to beta zero.
1. Beta Thalassemia major: This is the most severe type of thalassemia that can usually be found during the two years of life child. Children often need frequent blood transfusions. It also causes serious problems, iron overload is one of the common.
2. Beta-thalassemia intermedia: This is the most common thalassemia throughout the world. It may also induce abnormal hemoglobin or more than one type of abnormal hemoglobin. It is often found later than beta-thalassemia major and the transfusions are usually not needed.
3. Beta thalassemia trait: In this is only when one gene is damaged and it causes less severe anemia. The people who have the thalassemia trait can have a 50% chance of passing the gene to their children. If the other parent is not affected by this, then their children will also have this form of disorder.
Many people who are suffering from thalassemia are treated by removing excess iron as transfusions can cause iron overload which can damage many body organs.
When you would have a lack iron it may lead to anemia but too much iron can be harmful to the body, so it is important to get the right diagnosis.
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What Are the symptoms of Beta Thalassemia?
Different people can have different symptoms and the symptoms are based on the type of disorder inherited.
1. Beta-thalassemia major is the most severe type of disorder. Children who were born with this type can have symptoms early in life. These are:
- Having many infections
- Having a poor appetite
- Pale skin
The symptoms that will appear over time are
- Yellowish skin (jaundice)
- Slowed growth
- Belly (abdominal) swelling
Without treatment, the spleen, heart, and liver become enlarge and the bones can also become deformed, brittle, and thin.
The people who suffer from these conditions will need frequent blood transfusions and may not live a normal lifespan.
When the iron builds up in the heart and other organs from a blood transfusion, this can cause the risk of heart failure or heart failure as early as the teens or early 20s.
2. Thalassemia minima are often shown no symptoms.
3. Thalassemia intermedia can cause the symptoms of moderate to severe anemia
Some other symptoms are:
- Enlarged spleen
- Weak bones
- Pale skin
- Slow or delayed growth
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
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How To Diagnose Beta-thalassemia?
Beta-thalassemia is mostly found in Italian, Asian origin, Greek, and African peoples.
The diagnosis is most often made between the 6 months to 1-year-old children. The test can only identify this hemoglobin F, no hemoglobin A.
Some more mildly affected patients will be identified on the routine of complete blood count. The CBC will reveal a mild to moderate anemia with small red blood cells.
In the beta-thalassemia intermedia and trait, this testing reveals elevations in hemoglobin A2 and F.
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What Are the Treatments For Beta-Thalassemia?
The patients who suffer from beta Thalassemia majorly require lifelong transfusions. This therapy is being used to suppress red blood cell production in the bone marrow.
The patients may require this transfusion therapy during illness and puberty.
2. Iron Chelation Therapy
Iron chelation assists the body in removing excessive iron. It can be given as an oral medication or an infusion under the skin.
Patients with thalassemia intermedia may develop iron overload even in the absence of blood transfusions secondary to increase absorption of iron in the small intestine.
The spleen can become massively enlarged due to red cell breakdown as well as the red blood cell production in the spleen.
If the transfusion needs to be increased or the other blood cell counts go down due to the trapping in the spleen. Then we end up with the removal of the spleen surgically.
Hydroxyurea can be used to increase fetal hemoglobin production and success has been variable.
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Diet For Thalassemia
People who suffer from thalassemia should use a low-fat, plant-based diet. If you have high iron levels in your blood then you may need to avoid iron-rich foods.
Meats and fish are rich in iron food so you need to limit these kinds of food in your diet. Also avoid cereals, juices, and breeds because they contain iron in good amounts.
The deficiencies of folic acid are one of the reasons that cause thalassemia. Consuming dark green leafy and legumes are one of the best ways to treat thalassemia.
Vitamin B is essential for balancing off the effects of high iron levels and also protect the red blood cells.
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Hope this will help in preventing and curing. Feel free to ask your questions in the comment box and I will try my best to answer. Also if you like this post, do share it with your friends and family.
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