Muscat: As Oman joins the world to celebrate May 8 as the International Thalassemia Day, Omani Society of Haematology Genetic shared a report that informs that the disease is present in about 2 per cent of the population in Oman.
The report also says that Thalassemia is a common hereditary blood disease in the Sultanate. About 10 per cent of the Sultanate’s population carries a gene for a serious blood disease. Batinah and Muscat governorates are the regions most affected by thalassemia while Dakhiliya and Al Sharqiya are the regions most affected by sickle cell anaemia, which is another common genetic disorder.
The cause of the disease is due to a genetic disorder that leads to lack of haemoglobin resulting in lack of oxygen in the blood. Its symptoms include fatigue, headache, pale face, yellowing, shortness of breath, and a change in the colour of urine to a dark colour. Its symptoms may appear very early at birth or during the first two years. Other complications of this hereditary disease include delayed growth in children, delayed puberty in adolescents, an enlarged spleen, and deformed bone growth.
A thalassemia patient needs frequent blood transfusions, which brings to focus the need for those eligible to donate blood to do so in frequent allowed intervals. Oman’s Ministry of Health urges a balanced healthy diet and timely vaccines for thalassemia patients.
The Ministry also advises against taking iron tablets or vitamins without medical advice, and also urge couples to get a medical examination done before conceiving, which leads to early detection of hereditary blood diseases.