Thalassemia is caused when the body starts making abnormal form of hemoglobin which carries oxygen to different parts of body. Anemia is caused when the excessive destruction of blood cells starts due to this disorder. Thalassemia is also known as Mediterranean anemia and jackcsh anemia. Thalassemia is not a single disorder but a chain of defects with similar clinical effects. Severe cases can cause early death due to heart failure which happens in age group of 20 and 30 years. Thalassemia if left untreated than it can lead to infections development, liver and heart problems. The severity of disease is decided by the number of affected genes.

Causes and symptoms

Hemoglobin consists of two proteins which are Alpha globin and beta globin and the reason of occurrence of Thalassemia is the defect in a gene which control production of these proteins. This can be divided in two main parts which are Alpha Thalassemia which occurs when the gene controlling the production of alpha globin protein is missing and Beta Thalassemia which occurs when the gene controlling the production of beta globin protein is missing. Beta Thalassemia is also known as Cooley’s anemia. These two types that can be sub divided in two parts which are known as Thalassemia minor and Thalassemia major.

  • Thalassemia minor occurs when the patient gets the defective gene from one parent.
  • Thalassemia major occurs when the patient gets defective gene from both parents.  The children born with Thalassemia major are normal at the time of birth but they develop severe anemia during their first 5 years. In extreme cases of alpha Thalassemia major the children are still born as they either died in the last month of pregnancy or during the time of birth. The symptoms of Thalassemia are growth failure, fatigue, jaundice, shortness of breath and bone deformities in the face.

Tests

The tests through which a Thalassemia patient can undergo are physical examination, blood test, complete blood count, hemoglobin electrophoresis and mutational analysis.

Treatment

The treatment given to a Thalassemia major patient involves regular blood transfusion and folate supplements. The patient who had blood transfusion should not take iron supplements as it can increase the amount of iron in the body which in turn will harm the body. In some patients especially children bone marrow transplant can help in curing the disease.

Prevention

The prevention of Thalassemia is in the hand of parents who have defective genes. The parents should apply for genetic counseling and prenatal screening if they are planning to have children.

Anemia is a medical condition which rises in human body due to the deficiency of hemoglobin in the blood and is commonly known as poor man disease. Irrespective of its anemia can cause to any human being from any class of society. There are several types of anemia which can be caused due to various reasons. But what’s important is that it should be taken seriously. The treatment of anemia is done on the basis of its factor. In medical terms anemia is not a disease but a deficiency which leads to other disorder in the body.  There are over 400 types of anemia however most of them are rare. Below are some of the common forms of anemia:

Forms of Anemia

Pernicious Anemia– Pernicious anemia causes due to the lack of Vitamin B12 in the human body. This type of anemia is quite common in age group of 50-60 years. Pernicious anemia is mostly caused due to hereditary factor but in some cases autoimmune disorders also cause Pernicious Anemia.  The symptoms of Pernicious anemia are Dyspnea, fatigue, heat palpitations and numbness or tingling sensation in the body.

Aplastic anemia- Aplastic anemiais generally caused due to the reduction in quantity of red blood cells in human blood. The major cause of Aplasitc anemia is heavy blood loss due to injury or heavy menstruation, exposure to toxins or hepatitis. The reduction in red blood cells make a human body exposed to various infections as less RBC results in decreased fighting ability of the body. The symptoms of aplastic anemia includes pale skin, increased heartbeat, multiple infections, heart failure, heavy bleeding and lethargy.

Sickle cell anemia– Sickle cell anemia is caused in a human body which is suffering from a lifelong disease. In Sickle cell anemia the red blood cells are formed in the form of sickle by human body, these red blood cells are tend to form clumps which get stuck in the blood vessels causing serious organ damage, pain and multiple infections. High fever, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, jaundice, pale skin and severe pain in the body are some of the symptoms of Sickle cell anemia.

Thalassemia – Thalassemia is a genetically inherited disorder which leads to heavy damages to red blood cells. The levels of Thalassemia totally depend upon how much haemoglobin is produced by blood cells during this time. The symptoms of Thalassemia are swelling in liver and spleen, chest pain, dizziness, dark colored urine.

Iron deficiency anemia – Iron deficiency anemia, as the name suggests, is caused due to the deficiency of iron in human body. Iron plays an important role in the production of red blood cells in human body. Any reduction in the quantity of iron in human body can affect the production of red blood cells which causes Iron deficiency anemia.  The deficiency of iron can be due to heavy blood loss, poor diet, chronic illness and gastrointestinal infections. The body suffering from Iron deficiency anemia shows symptoms such as frequent headaches, irritability, brittle hairs and nails, increased heartbeat.

Classification of Anemia

 

Anemia is broadly classified as:

 

Microcytic Anemia– Microcytic Anemia is a term used to characterize a type of anemia which is caused when the size of the red blood cells (RBC) is smaller than the usual. In Microcytic Anemia these red blood cells are even paler than usual RBCs as they cannot perform hemoglobin synthesis. Now Microcytic Anemia is a broad classification and some types of Anemia like Iron deficiency anemia, sideroblastic anemia, and anemia caused due to chronic disease, lead poisoning, pyridoxine deficiency all fall under this category.

 

Macrocytic Anemia- Macrocytic Anemia is again not a disease but a condition in where the red blood cells or RBCs are larger than their usual volume. In Macrocytic Anemia condition the larger red blood cells so the collective number of the cells decreases and also each cell contains insufficient amount of hemoglobin. Macrocytic Anemia can be further classified in two main parts which are known as megaloblastic anemia and non megaloblastic anemia. Megaloblastic anemia is caused due to the lack of vitamin b12 or folic acid in human body. Pernicious anemia can be characterized under Macrocytic Anemia as pernicious anemia is caused because of poor capability of human body to absorb vitamin b12.

 

Normocytic Anemia- Normocytic Anemia is caused when size of red blood cell remains normal but the overall level of hemoglobin is increased.  Some types of Anemia caused as a result of chronic disease, hemolytic anemia and aplastic anemia all can be categorized as Normocytic Anemia. Normocytic Anemia can also be caused when a person suffers from acute blood loss.

 

Dimorphic – Dimorphic is a condition when a human body suffers from two or more causes of anemia simultaneously.