World Thalassaemia Day is celebrated on May 8 every year to raise awareness amongst people concerned with decision and policy making, health care professionals, patients and their families and community at large about thalassaemia.
World Thalassaemia Day 2022 Theme: “Be Aware. Share. Care: Working with the global community as one to improve thalassaemia knowledge.’’
The theme seeks to inspire every individual to contribute, at the personal level, to the fight against thalassaemia and serves as a powerful reminder that everyone has a substantial role to play and a responsibility to act.
Thalassaemia is an inherited blood disorder (passed from parents to children through genes). It results when genes that are responsible for producing haemoglobin are damaged or absent. Haemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body organs and tissues. Due to damaged or insufficient haemoglobin; a large numbers of red blood cells are destroyed and leads to anemia.
There are two types of thalassaemia: alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia. Both alpha and beta thalassaemia may be found in two forms-
- Thalassaemia major: In this type of disease, faulty genes are received from both parents. People with this disease may have severe anaemia, slowed growth and delayed puberty, and problems with the spleen, liver, heart, or bones. Symptoms usually appear during the first two years of life.
- Thalassaemia minor: People with this form of the disorder are carriers of the disease. Most of the time, they do not have symptoms. Thalassaemia minor occurs when faulty genes are received from one parent.
Thalassaemia can be diagnosed by blood tests. It is a treatable disorder that can be managed with blood transfusions and chelation therapy. Some children can be cured by bone marrow transplant.
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Facial bone deformities
- Slow growth
- Abdominal swelling
- Dark urine