Mediterranean Anemia (Thalassemia)
Almost every mother knows the importance of nutrition and the role of iron, folic acid, vitamin B12 and zinc in blood production. They even visit doctors for the suspicion of iron deficiency due to problems like loss of appetite and learning difficulty. However, children may appear pale despite all these. Or iron levels may not improve in spite of receiving a long-term iron replacement therapy. In such case, the problem must be further investigated. Liv Hospital Pediatric Hematology Specialist Prof. Dr. Hilmi Apak explained Mediterranean anemia and its treatment.
In our country, almost 1.5 million people are Mediterranean Anemia thalassemia carriers. Half of our genes are from our mothers, and the other half is from our fathers. Thalassemia occurs like this as well; even if we inherit a disrupted gene, the disease would not occur as long as the other parent is healthy. However, we become thalassemia carriers. Even though we are not sick, we can give that gene to our children. If our partner is healthy in terms of this gene, your child will be a carrier with a fifty percent chance. However, if our partner is also a carrier, then our child may have thalassemia. Or if our child becomes a carrier, then our grandchild can have the disease. Being a thalassemia carrier may not manifest any symptoms. However, thalassemia is a severe disease and the patients are required to receive periodic blood transfusion for their lifetime. The only alarming factor that reveals thalassemia carrier might be pale look. Thalassemia carriers continue their normal life. They can perform difficult physical professions like police, military, doctor, and have multiple children although their pregnancies may be more difficult. They have slightly reduced blood count and it may be missed if not paid enough attention. Therefore, if your levels do not respond iron therapy despite long-term careful medication, thalassemia carrier is suspected.