Thalassemia Minor/Iron Deficiency?

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Thalassemia Minor/Iron Deficiency?
« on: October 22, 2016, 08:32:00 PM »
Hello all,
I was diagnosed with thalassemia minor when I was an infant. The way it was diagnosed, according to my mom, was that I had low iron levels. So my doctor prescribed me iron pills; however, they were failing to bring my iron levels up. I was not responding to the iron treatments at all. My doctor then tested me for thalassemia and this was how I was diagnosed. I've never worried about it before, but recently I learned that individuals with thalassemia do not have low iron levels typically. So now i'm concerned that my anemia and low iron levels are due to something else. It sounds crazy because i'm 21 now and have lived with it my whole life with no issues. I've had numerous CBCs in my life that my doctors have never seemed concerned about because they know I have thalassemia minor. The iron deficiency part is what has me concerned. So I was just wondering if anyone else also has an iron deficiency that will not respond to treatment alongside their thalassemia. I'm not sure if this is common amongst individuals with thalassemia because i've never spoken with anyone else who has it.

Thank you everyone!

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Offline Andy Battaglia

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Re: Thalassemia Minor/Iron Deficiency?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 09:43:36 PM »
The first thing you need to understand is doctors will refer to low hemoglobin as low iron, without any further study, and this is completely wrong. The anemia of thalassemia minor has absolutely nothing to do with iron. It means that one of your beta globin genes is defective and produces either a reduced amount of beta globin or none at all. Beta globin and alpha globin combine to form hemoglobin, so when you produce a deficiency of one of the globins, your hemoglobin level will be lower than normal and this cannot be helped by iron. Thal minors should never take iron unless they have had a full iron panel of tests done that clearly demonstrate that iron deficiency is present in addition to the thal minor. Long term iron supplements can do damage to the organs and should be avoided by thal minors. You are much better off addressing the nutritional needs that arise because your bone marrow is overactive, trying to produce red blood cells. Folate is one of the main needs. For a more thorough discussion of the nutritional needs of thal minor, see http://www.thalassemiapatientsandfriends.com/index.php/topic,4890.msg46774.html#msg46774
Andy

All we are saying is give thals a chance.

Re: Thalassemia Minor/Iron Deficiency?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 07:29:50 PM »
Thank you so much for replying; that information was so useful. I really appreciate it!

 

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