World Thalassemia Day – 08th May

World Thalassemia Day

World Thalassemia Day is celebrated every year on the 8th of May to commemorate the Thalassemia victims and to encourage all those around the world who struggle to live their lives with the disease.

Ziqitza Healthcare explains that Thalassemias are blood disorders that are largely inherited and are characterised by decreased production of haemoglobin and lesser amount of normal blood cells. People who suffer from thalassemia have at least one parent as the carrier of the disease.

Ziqitza further explains that symptoms of thalassemia vary from none to severe and depend on the type of the disease. The most common symptom is mild to severe anaemia which can result in pale and tired skin. ZHL Rajasthan elaborates that thalassemia could lead to bone problems, cause yellowish skin, enlarged spleen and urine which is dark in color. Children suffering from thalassemia could experience a slow growth rate.

Thalassemias are majorly genetic disorders which are inherited from parents. Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd points out that there are two types of thalassemias – alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia. The severity of these two types of thalassemia is characterized by the missing number of four genes for alpha goblin or two genes of the beta goblin. Ziqitza Rajasthan stresses on the diagnosis of thalassemia and states that the diagnosis for thalassemia typically involves blood tests such as special hemoglobin tests, complete blood count, and genetic tests to identify genetic disorders. These days prenatal testing is conducted to identify or diagnose thalassemia in children before birth.

World Thalassemia Day is celebrated every year to spread awareness about this disease. This year’s theme for the World Thalassemia Day is, ‘Be Aware. Share. Care’. Ziqitza Limited believes that there are still a lot of unknowns about the disease and the fight against any disease, not just thalassemia, can only be won through awareness and knowledge. This year’s theme is an open invitation and call to action for everyone to come forward and promote awareness about this genetic blood disorder.

There are various forms of thalassemia and each type has its subtypes. Cases of alpha thalassemia are typically found in people who reside in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, China, and also in those with African descent. Whereas, beta thalassemia occurs largely in people from Mediterranean origin. However, these types are not restricted to just these geographies. The alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia can be categorised into two forms: Thalassemia major and Thalassemia Minor.  Ziqitza Limited Rajasthanclarifies that, in order for you to develop thalassemia major, you must inherit the gene defect from both parents. And you can inherit thalassemia minor, if only one parent has the gene defect.

Treatments for thalassemia depend on the type and severity of the disease. People who suffer from severe cases of thalassemia undergo treatments such as regular blood transfusions, iron chelation and folic acid. Iron chelation is usually conducted using deferoxamine, deferasirox or deferiprone. People suffering from thalassemia can be seen undergoing a bone marrow transplant for treatment. But these treatments also have side effects. Regular blood transfusion could lead to iron overload and result in heart or liver disease, osteoporosis and infections. Thalassemia also causes enlargement of spleen in many cases, and in such a scenario, the spleen needs to be surgically removed.

Ziqitza HealthCare Limited states that during the first nation-wide lockdown owing to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, patients suffering from thalassemia witnessed a tragic and harrowing time. The restrictions across the country caused life-threatening situations for thalassemia patients due to shortage of blood supply and closure of blood banks. Due to zero activity, no blood donation camps were organized, voluntary blood donations were discouraged due to the fear of contracting the coronavirus, and the covid vaccination guidelines prevented vaccinated people from donating blood before two weeks post vaccination. The situation had become really dangerous for patients suffering from thalassemia. Many of the thalassemia patients were infected by COVID-19 which further affected their immunity adversely.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to meet a country’s basic blood needs, a minimum one percent of the country’s population should donate blood. India must bolster its efforts in ensuring availability of safe blood for thalassemia patients. Blood donation in India must be centralized and effective mechanisms should be formulated to ensure timely access to safe blood for those in need. Access to safe blood is a basic right of every citizen and an essential component of healthcare. All necessary steps must be taken and efforts must be strengthened to ensure that those in need of safe blood, has easy and quick access to it.

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