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What is thalassemia and how to recognize it?

Thalassemia is a kind of blood disorder, which is also known as Mediterraneananemia. Its main characteristic is that the person has lower levels ofhemoglobin and red blood cells than it is considered normal, which is whyfatigue is primary symptom of this condition. Besides this, people mightexperience weakness, paleness, shortness of breath, dark urine, while moresevere symptoms are slow growth, deformities of the facial bones and protrudingabdomen. Given that this blood disorder is congenital in nature, it does notmean that the baby will develop symptoms at birth; it might take some time forthe first signs to show up, while there are people who might never develop anysymptoms because in their case, only one alpha hemoglobin gene is affected.

Is there a way to treat and cure it?

Even though it might sound serious, this condition is rarelysevere and in the majority of cases, it does not even have to be treated. However,there are cases that do require steps such as blood transfusion, and thosecases refer to situations after some surgery, delivery, or after developing someinfection. What can help in cases of thalassemia is definitely certain changein the diet, because there are foods that provide the body with more energy andthat can help in the improvement of the blood test results.

What happens rather frequently in cases of people who sufferfrom thalassemia is that iron builds up in their body (in the blood, to be moreprecise), which can have negative effect on the heart, liver and some other organs.For this reason, it is necessary to check these levels and take certainmedications that help in getting rid of the excessive amounts of this element. The most severe cases of this disorder require bone marrowtransplant or a transplantation of stem cells, but these procedures bearsignificant amounts of risks.

What everyone who has this disorder can benefit from isdefinitely healthy diet, the one that contains all the necessary nutrients thatboost the energy and contribute to the overall health of an individual. It isrecommended not to take in additional amounts of iron unless the doctorsuggests it, but minerals such as calcium, zinc and vitamin D should be addedor increased because they help in maintaining healthy bones. It is recommended to try to avoid infections, particularly if a person had the spleen removed.

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