Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thalassemia patient

I received a mail from a reader regarding Thalassemia patient dietary guide, I have deal with this kind of cases before and I don't mind to share it to all littlediet fans. 
Thalassemia is an inherited autosomal recessive blood disease, to make it simple, there are 2 types of case. The first one is thalassemia major (2 defective genes which need undergo therapy) and the second one is minor (carriers, no symptoms). If the patient is received blood transfusion, then they may need to control the intake of high iron foods. This is related with iron overload problem if blood transfusion but at the same time consumption of high iron foods. Thalassemia is a type of anemia disease. The early destruction of red blood cells cause the oxygen unable be sent to tissues and cells. That's why they need on blood transfusion. The example of high iron foods: seafoods (squid, clams, oysters), internal organs (liver, small intestine, brain), fish roe, raisin, beans, spinach, appropriate amount of chicken, beef and pork. Some of them may also take zinc supplement to chelate (compete) binding with iron to remove excess iron. Besides, patients are encouraged to take tea, coffee, milk, carbonated drink together with meal time to avoid iron absorption. However, they need to avoid taking rich vitamin c  (fruit juice, orange yellow fruits) together with meal as it encourages iron absorption.



  1. What if the person is only a carrier??
    This means that they have a low amount of haemoglobin right?? and they will have to increase the amount of haemoglobin...
    Then should they consume food which is high in iron??

  2. For minor thalassemia, Hb level will be low due to microcyctic anemia which have smaller red blood cells. However, they should not necessary avoid iron rich foods but also need to aware with iron supplements. They may need to meet with physician if appear anemia symptoms to get further investigation through blood test (ferritin level). If no symptoms, he/she can take normal diet with appropriate portion of iron sources foods.