Thalassemia is a genetically inherited blood disorder, where there are one or more abnormalities in the chromosome no.11 or chromosome no.16. This leads to an abnormal formation of haemoglobin (protein inside the cells that carries oxygen). This disorder results in an excessive destruction of red blood cells causing anaemia. Haemoglobin is made up of 2 types of proteins, the alpha globin and beta globin. Thalassemia occurs when a gene that helps control the production of these two proteins becomes defective.
Let’s discuss the types of thalassemia.
There are many types of thalassemia and each type has different sub-types. Both alpha and beta thalassemia has two distinctive types, thalassemia major and thalassemia minor.
In the type major, the baby receives an affected gene from both the parents, and it is a recessive disorder. Similarly for the minor type baby receives an affected gene only from one parent making him/her a carrier without any symptoms. Babies born with thalassemia major develop a severe type of anaemia naming Cooley’s anaemia.
Other then deformities in blood major thalassemia also causes bone deformities. It causes thinning of the cortex (outer part) of bone, due to this facial and brain structure also changes giving a chipmunk like appearance.
While suffering from thalassemia nutrition plays a very important role. A person suffering from thalassemia is at a risk of nutritional deficiency. A balanced diet containing good quality of protein, grains, fruits and vegetable can be helpful. The patient generally has a poor intake of nutrition with high energy demands, thus malnutrition can appear in such cases. Along with this due to high oxidative stress, there is an increased demand for vitamin C, E, Zinc and Selenium. As already discussed a person suffering from thalassemia has a low level of vitamin D and very low bone mass, which leads to fracture and bone deformities. Scientific researches have shown that supplementation with vitamin D can improve the situation.
Does Supplementation Work :
Some nutrients can be obtained from the diet by default, but for better absorption it is proved by a scientific study that supplementation can be beneficial.
What Not To Eat :
A patients body is already under stress due to the genetic default. And by adding refined and processed foods in the diet puts an extra load on the organs and makes them prone to their detrimental health effects.
Though this disorder is not curable but still can be prevented. It is recommended to get tested for thalassemia before planning for a family as a person with thalassemia doesn’t show any symptoms.
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