How Is It Treated?

Children are treated with regular blood transfusions to provide the healthy red blood cells which the body needs. Unfortunately the body is unable to rid itself of the excess iron in the transfused blood.  Iron, while essential to health in small amounts, can be toxic and fatal in large amounts if it becomes stored in the organs and glands of the body over time.  The treatment for this complication comes in the form of Iron Chelation.  There are a few drugs available on the market that help patients remove the excess iron out of their bodies, so they can live a longer and more healthy life.  These medications, though, are not always accessible due to cost or government regulation.

Is There A Cure?

Science has come a long way, but we are still not at the stage where a blanket cure - complete solution - exists.

Children cured of the condition undergo a bone marrow transplant.  The patient's own marrow is killed off with either drugs or radiation and the transplanted marrow is infused into their own.  The donors are usually close family members with the same blood type; however, there is a great risk to undergoing this procedure and it is not advised for older patients.  The most effective way to cure and manage the condition is to prevent it.

How Can It Be Prevented?

Because Thalassemia is an inherited disorder, passed on through the parents, it is advised that you ask your doctor to arrange for testing and genetic counseling before starting a family if you are found to be carriers of the condition.