Vietnam sees increase of Thalassemia patients by 10 percent annually

At a forum on Thalassemia on November 29, the Hospital of Hematology-Blood Transfusion in Ho Chi Minh City said that the rate of Thalassemia patients fluctuate from 2 percent to 25 percent in different localities.

The Southeast Asian country is ranked one of nations with highest percentage of Thalassemia people with more than 10 million adults carrying the diseased genes and around 2,000 children born with Thalassemia at birth.

Treatments for moderate to severe thalassemia may include frequent blood transfusions. More-severe forms of thalassemia often require frequent blood transfusions, possibly every few weeks. Over time, blood transfusions cause a buildup of iron in your blood, which can damage your heart, liver and other organs. To help your body get rid of the extra iron, you may need to take medications that rid your body of extra iron; if not iron overload can cause fatal complications such as heart, liver and kidney failure.

The hospital said that there has been an increase of 10 percent of Thalassemia people. In 2014, over 16,000 people went to the hospital for examination and treatment. People with the disease can labor as normal if they receive early diagnosis and treatment of blood transfusion periodically.

Thalassemia is caused by variant or missing genes that affect how the body makes hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. People with Thalassemia make less hemoglobin and have fewer circulating red blood cells than normal, which results in mild or severe microcytic anemia.

Thalassemia can cause complications, including iron overload, bone deformities, and cardiovascular illness. However, this same inherited disease of red blood cells may confer a degree of protection against malaria (specifically, malaria caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum), which is or was prevalent in the regions where the trait is common.

Thalassemia resulted in 25,000 deaths in 2013 down from 36,000 deaths in 1990.

By Hai Thuy – translated by Anh Quan

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