Heart1.com: Great Information, Real Community, Better Living.
 Main Page
 Heart News
Feature Story
 Education Center
 Heart Attack Center
Dr. Tod Engelhardt  Heart

Dr. Tod Engelhardt:
Combating Major Blood Clots.
About Heroes
 Join the Discussion  in  Our Forums
Heart1 Forums
Patient Stories
Online Resources
Video Library
Search the Body1 Network
April 21, 2021  
EDUCATION CENTER: Diagnosis and Treatment

Clinical Overview
Symptoms Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Printer Friendly Version
  • Email this Condition
  • Thalassemia

    Diagnosis and Treatment
    A doctor will diagnose thalassemia by asking for a family medical history and performing a complete blood count (CBC) test. Your blood will undergo morphology, or a smearing under a microscope to classify the blood by its color, shape, and size. The percentage of red blood cells in your plasma (a measurement known as hemocrit) will also be taken into account.

    People with thalassemia should not take iron supplements, though people with other forms of anemia may benefit from iron.

    Treatment for thalassemia varies from patient to patient depending on the type of thalassemia present. People with thalassemia minor may require no treatment. However, thalassemia major patients will require lifelong medical attention.

    To treat thalassemia major, the most common protocol is red blood cell transfusions. The patient needs a steady supply of red blood cells with normal hemoglobin to carry oxygen throughout the body. The number of blood transfusions recommended varies from country to country. In the United States, transfusions can be delivered as often as every two weeks but in most cases are given every three to four weeks.

    As a result of frequent blood transfusions, the thalassemia major patient’s body will have iron overload. If the overload is not treated with chelation therapy, the patient could die from organ failure.

    Bone marrow transplant (BMT) eliminates the need for transfusions in some people with thalassemia. However, the procedure is not a practical cure for most people as research is still being performed on its efficacy in treating thalassemia.

    To prevent thalassemia, see your doctor about genetic testing before you become pregnant.

    Last updated: 23-Feb-07

    Interact on Heart1

    Discuss this topic with others.
    Related Multimedia

    Explaining Arthroscopy - Interview with Dr. James Lubowitz

    Related Content
    Sickle Cell Anemia

    Muscular Dystrophy

    Not For Everyone: Testing for Genetic Risk of Breast or Ovarian Cancer

    Study: Tests May Make Donated Tissue Safer

    Home About Us Press Jobs Advertise With Us Contact Us
    © 2021 Body1 All rights reserved.
    Disclaimer: The information provided within this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Owners and Sponsors of this site. By using this site you agree to indemnify, and hold the Owners and Sponsors harmless, from any disputes arising from content posted here-in.