Thalassaemia is an inherited blood disorder where the body doesn’t make haemoglobin (haemoglobin is a part of our red blood cells that transports oxygen to our cells) normally and is characterised by having less haemoglobin and red blood cells in one’s body as compared to healthy people.
As a result of having lower haemoglobin and red blood cells, anaemia occurs which could leave a person with this condition, feeling fatigued and weak.
Treatment for Thalassaemia usually involves blood transfusions with chelation therapy. Chelation therapy prevents the effects of iron accumulation which affects the liver, heart and endocrine glands.
In Malaysia, according to the Ministry of Health, there are around 2,400 Thalassaemia patients who are dependent on blood transfusions. These transfusions are done three to four times a week in order to combat anaemia caused by Thalassaemia.
If you have any of the symptoms or know of any family members who have Thalassaemia, do get tested in order to see whether you are a carrier or have the disease. Catching it early allows for potential life-saving treatment to be administered.