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Lifestyle Changes For Thalassemia

Thalassemia is a disease that can be treated and managed appropriately with blood transfusions and chelation therapy. Most of the thalassemia patients live a normal life with treatment. However, you need to regularly get blood transfusions, chelation drugs and follow up in clinics. This can cause some difficulties in your life and it is very challenging to stick to this treatment, but if you take all of that in a positive attitude then you will not feel it as a burden. Since all of these are done to treat thalassemia, so, that you can live a normal life.1

Lifestyle Changes For Thalassemia

Lifestyle Changes For Thalassemia

Staying healthy is good for all of us, not just the thalassemia patients. Changing your lifestyle to a healthier one is beneficial for anyone. Thalassemia patients have some important issues that they should consider than the normal people.

Treating Acute Infections And Taking The Relevant Vaccinations

You are more prone to infections especially if you are getting regular blood transfusions and if your spleen is removed. Therefore, you need to take precautions to prevent infections. Recommended lifestyle changes are:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Tend to scratches, cuts and wounds with proper wound care.
  • Avoid contact with sick people and going to crowded areas.
  • Do not share tooth brushes, towels and other personal items with anyone else.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing.
  • Always keep your house and working area clean.
  • When travelling try to drink bottled water as much as possible.
  • If you develop symptoms of any infection, consult your doctor for medical care.2

Thalassemia is not a contraindication for any vaccine. Before splenectomy pneumococcal, meningococcal and haemophilus vaccine are given. Additionally, Hepatitis A, B vaccines are also given.3

Maintaining Good Dental Hygiene

Do regular dental checkups and if there are any problems take relevant treatment. Also brush your teeth daily and maintain god oral hygiene. Regular dental checkups are a good lifestyle change for thalassemia patients.4

Have A Balanced Diet

Have a balanced diet which includes the essential vitamins and minerals. Have more fruits and vegetables as these are rich in anti-oxidants. Some of you must be advised to limit iron intake, check with your doctor if you need to limit iron intake. If so avoid food such as red meat, liver, green leaves and leafy green vegetables as it is a good lifestyle change for thalassemia. You can have these with a cup of black tea to avoid the absorption of iron, so that you get the other vitamins and minerals in these food.5

Consult a dietician for more advice.

Do Regular Exercises And Engage In Sports

You need to do regular exercises and usually you can engage in sports. Exercises are important for a healthy lifestyle. Usually there are no limitations but if you have some difficulty in doing certain sports you can always try other sports to see what activities you can do easily.6 You can get more advice from your health care provider.

Avoid Substance Abuse

Alcohol can increase the damage from iron to the body, decrease bone formation and sometime cause drug reactions. Therefore, thalassemia patients are discouraged from consuming alcohol and this is a good lifestyle change.

Smoking can affect bone remodeling and cause osteoporosis. Overall smoking is harmful, therefore, advised against smoking.

Depression, anxiety can easily attract a thalassemia patient to get addicted to drugs. Illicit drugs and your thalassemia drugs can have reactions which can be dangerous. It’s important you avoid illicit drugs and if you have some problem always get psychological support rather than getting the comfort of drugs.

Stress Management

Engage in recreational and religious activities. Have a hobby that you enjoy doing, engage in religious activities. These can relieve stress and distract your mind from thinking about problems.7 Talk with your family, friends and doctor about your emotional issues as this is an excellent lifestyle change for Thalassemia patients.


Thalassemia is a disease that can be treated and managed appropriately with blood transfusions and chelation therapy. Most of the thalassemia patients live a normal life with treatment. Lifestyle changes that required are treating infections, getting the relevant vaccinations, maintaining good oral and dental hygiene, having a balanced diet and limiting iron intake, doing regular exercises and engaging in sports, engage in recreational and religious activities, avoid substance abuse and dealing correctly with stress.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 12, 2024

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