Adult thalassemia with no prior history possible?


Q: Hi,

I recently had a miscarriage (30nov). I was into my week 8. My body has naturally eliminated all the tissue. I had blood work done on me few days back and my doc suggests that I get a test for thalassemia done as my roc count is a little low. I m a south Asian by descent . I am not aware of of any family members with this issue and I have never needed any transfusions thus far. Could I be having thalassemia?

Symptoms:  Triredness and back ache

A:   Hello,
Thanks for choosing "Ask the Doctor" for posting your query.

Thalassemia is an autosomal recessive blood disorder. It is of two types - alpha and beta. Beta is further subdivided as major and minor(trait). Asians are genetically more pre-disposed to thalassemia. . As the individual suffering from trait is often asymptomatic or suffers only from mild anemia, thalassemia minor/trait often goes undiagnosed. In female, many times it is diagnosed only during pregnancy when the iron demand of the body increases but hemoglobin level falls down and the anemia does not respond to iron. Most of the people with trait lead normal life without any treatment. U may only need one or two blood transfusions during pregnancy in case your Hb is too low.

I do not mean that you are suffering from thalassemia minor but nothing wrong in getting investigated and ruling it out. I suggest you to visit your doctor and get properly investigated. He might advise you complete blood count, serum ferritin, hemoglobin electrophoresis and Fe binding capacity for making the diagnosis.

Hope I am able to answer your concerns.

Wish you good health!

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