A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Thalassemia
I had a question the other day about thalassemia.
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder causing your body to make less hemoglobin or abnormal hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin helps red blood cells spread oxygen through your body.
Low levels of hemoglobin may cause anemia.
Severe anemia can damage organs and lead to death.
There are 2 main types: alpha and beta.
Beta thalassemia is the most common.
Beta thalassemia happens when one or both of the two genes making hemoglobin don’t work or only partly work as they should.
>If you have one damaged gene, you may have mild anemia.
>When both genes are damaged, it means you got a thalassemia gene from each parent.
This type occurs when one or more of the four genes that make hemoglobin are missing or damaged.
>If one gene is missing or damaged: Your red blood cells might be smaller than normal. You’ll have no symptoms and you’ll not need treatment, but you’re a silent carrier.
>If two genes are missing or damaged: You’ll have very mild anemia and typically won’t need treatment.
>If three genes are missing: You’ll have mild to moderately severe anemia.
>If all four genes are missing: The fetus will be stillborn, or the child will die soon after birth.
If you, either parent, or any of your siblings have thalassemia or carry a gene for thalassemia and you’re thinking about having a child, you may want to talk to a genetic counselor before you get pregnant.
Mild thalassemia usually doesn’t cause any symptoms.
Moderate or severe disease may cause symptoms of anemia.
Children with severe thalassemia may grow slowly, have abnormally shaped skull bones, and have problems with feeding, frequent fevers, and diarrhea.
Treatment depends on how severe your condition is.
>Mild thalassemia, the most common form, doesn’t need treatment.
>Moderate thalassemia may be treated with blood transfusions and folic acid supplements.
>Severe thalassemia may be treated with blood transfusions, folic acid, or medicines used for chemotherapy (they help your body make normal hemoglobin).
If you have repeated blood transfusions, it’s possible for your body to get too much iron.
This can damage your organs, especially your liver.
To deal with thalassemia at home it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily to hydrate and flush toxins.
*Increase exercise and movement as much as possible.
*Increase stress and relaxation techniques: yoga, meditation, prayer, deep breathing, etc. Consider energy medicine.
*Address emotional connections.
*Increase fresh air, sunshine, connect with nature.
*Increase essential fats (flax oil, olive oil, Omega-3 oils).
*Increase fresh, raw fruits and veggies (organic when possible).
*Consider fresh juicing; consume fresh garlic and onions.
*Increase fiber intake; ensure good bowel function; avoid constipation; consider liver and/or colon cleanse.
*Consider an arterial cleansing program.
*Investigate use of herbs (hawthorn, valerian).
*Monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride and homocysteine levels.
*Decrease toxic exposures of all kinds (food and environmental).
*Decrease “hidden allergies”.
*Decrease any and all hydrogenated, trans fats, deep-fried foods, margarine, fast foods, etc.
*Decrease sugar, sweets, white flour products, processed foods.
*Understand and control diabetes.
*Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, soda pop.
*Decrease excess weight, particularly around your mid-section.
*Understand your medications and possible side effects.
*Understand your family history and address any concerns. Practice preventive measures.
*Investigate possible connection to dental procedures; consult a holistic dentist.
*Eliminate MSG and all artificial sweeteners as they are neurotoxins.
*Decrease processed meats, deli meats (nitrates).