“Thalassemia may slow you down, but it can’t stop you from achieving greatness.”
Every year on May 8, there is a celebration known as World Thalassemia Day to bring attention to this genetic blood condition that affects the production of hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen in the body. The genetic disease thalassemia can be passed from parents to their offspring.
This day is observed to educate people about the importance of early detection, prevention, and management of thalassemia. If neglected, thalassemia can result in anemia, tiredness, jaundice, and other problems.
Thalassemia patients’ quality of life can be enhanced by early diagnosis and treatment.
Some common activities that take place on World Thalassemia Day include:
- Blood donation drives
- Educational event
- Fundraising event
- Social media campaign
- Lighting up landmarks
- Government initiatives to support Thalassemia
The day creates awareness to honor the struggle of patients suffering from the disease. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that doesn’t let the body create enough hemoglobin. The disease weakens and destroys the blood cells.
The day is celebrated across the globe to honor the efforts of doctors, scientists and medical staff for improving the lives of people suffering from this disease.
There are different types of Thalassemia, and the treatment of this disease depends upon the type and severity. The effects of this illness might vary, sometimes being moderate, severe, or even life-threatening.
World Thalassemia Day came into existence in 1994 after the Thalassemia International Federation (TIF) designated May 8 as International Thalassemia Day.
The day was celebrated to honor the life of George Englezos and all the other Thalassemia patients who worked fought this disease. George Englezos was the son of Thalassemia International Federation’s founder Panos Englezos.
Thalassemia is a genetic disorder where the body cannot make adequate hemoglobin and red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein found in our red blood cells that bind with oxygen and transports it to other body parts. In thalassemia, the body cannot synthesize average amounts of hemoglobin, leading to oxygen deficiency.
The red blood cells get malformed in thalassemia, further hampers their oxygen transport ability. Thalassemia also leads to anemia due to a shortage of healthy red blood cells in your blood. As this is a genetic disorder, no permanent solution exists except stem cell transplant.
Thalassemia has two types: Alpha-thalassemia and Beta-thalassemia. Although there are no symptoms in most cases, severe thalassemia can show symptoms that can affect the patient’s daily life.
Thalassemia is generally diagnosed in childhood, as symptoms usually appear within the first two years of a person’s life.
The success rate of thalassemia treatment in India is relatively high in India due to the presence of highly-qualified hematologists and state-of-art equipment.
The success rate lies between 60-80% for bone marrow transplants, while the success rate for blood transfusion ranges from 60-90%, depending upon the type of thalassemia being treated.
World Thalassemia Day Theme
Theme for thalassemia day 2023: Be Aware. Share. Care
Each year, World Thalassemia Day is celebrated with a different theme that aims to educate youngsters to get themselves tested before they plan for a child.
It is even recommended to get prenatal testing done for your children in order to give them the right treatment based on the severity.
Events and activities are organized in several public places and educational institutes across the world to address the misconceptions related to Thalassemia.
Along with TIF’s efforts, other health bodies like World Health Organization also highlight the rights of the patients while addressing the concerns related to this disorder.
You may read more about Thalassemia Treatment in India here.
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