Thalassemia is a one of blood disorder inherited from the parents marked by a deficiency of hemoglobin and red blood cells in the body. This disease is inherited when one or both the parents are carriers or thalassemia. This disorder runs in families from generation to generation. Its symptoms include jaundice, dark urine, fatigue, slow growth delayed puberty and many more. It may need lifelong blood transfusion and iron control medicines. Bone marrow transplantation can be a boon for such condition as it seems to be only treatment of the disease.1
Can Bone Marrow Transplant Cure Thalassemia?
There is only one cure for thalassemia which is bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. But it is not done very often because it possesses many health risks. Bone marrow transplant is done in the severe form of thalassemia for long-term benefits.2 Stem cells are spongy tissue formed in the bone marrow. These cells can regenerate different types of cells in the blood. These cells are specialized cells which are produced in the center of some bones like long bones.3
In bone marrow transplant technique, stem cells are taken from a healthy donor who is usually a close relative of the patient. It is transferred through a drip into the patient’s vein. These cells regenerate healthy red blood cells in the blood replacing the damaged cells formed by thalassemia.4
Bone marrow transplantation brings serious side effects that can threaten life. The person who has undergone bone marrow transplantation may develop graft versus host disease. It is a life threatening disease in which these transplanted cells can attack the other healthy cells of the body.5
Other Treatments for Thalassemia
Blood Transfusion. regular blood transfusion can cover up the hemoglobin and red blood cell requirements. It is done frequently for every few weeks.
Folic Acids. folic acids support the body to produce more and more healthy blood cells.6
Chelation Therapy. regular blood transfusion may lead to building up of iron in the body. Excess iron can damage heart, liver and other vital organs. Chelation therapy is beneficial in the removal of extra iron from the body. It is recommended to avoid iron supplements and iron rich food when blood transfusion is done.7
Hormonal Medicines. it is used in children who have delayed puberty to normalize the hormone levels and bring puberty.
Vaccinations. various vaccinations are recommended to the patient with thalassemia to prevent infections as infections can complicate the condition.
Thyroid Medicines. if thyroid hormone levels are disturbed, then thyroid medicines are given to manage problems related to thyroid.
Medicines For Osteoporosis. reduced red blood cells and hemoglobin can weaken the bones and make them fragile, and then your physician may recommend bisphosphonates to strengthen the bones.8
Thalassemia is a genetic disease characterized by low production of hemoglobin and red blood cells in the body. This disease leads to the destruction of red blood cells resulting in anemia. Hemoglobin is needed to carry oxygen to different cells of our body. This disease is of two types, one is thalassemia minor and other is thalassemia major. It occurs due to an inheritance of defective genes from one or both parents or by mutation of genes.
Thalassemia is caused by the passing on of the mutated genes from parents to their children. The parents are either patients or carriers of thalassemia. These genes are responsible for coding instructions for the production of red blood cells. It is represented by symptoms such as extreme tiredness, fatigue, dark urine, delayed puberty, slow growth, and paleness in the skin, jaundice, weakness in the muscles and swelling in the abdomen.
Thalassemia is a blood disorder that is represented by the low production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Thalassemia requires lifelong blood transfusion and chelation therapy in severe cases. Bone marrow transplantation is only one cure for the disease as it has lots of benefits over blood transfusion.