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India a thalassemia hub of the world with 40 million carriers

‘Thalassemia is a blood disorder passed down through families in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin’ Dr Bhattacharya said adding Hemoglobin was the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. ‘The disorder results in large numbers of red blood cells being destroyed, which leads to anemia, he said adding ‘Thalassemia occurs when there is a defect in a gene that helps control production of one of these proteins’..

According to Dr Bhattacharya,“Preventive health checkups is the need of the hour – it’s crucial that two beta thalassemia carriers don’t marry each other to prevent birth of a beta thalassemia major. If they do, then there is a 25 per cent chance of the baby being thalassemia major. Hence the only way to prevent increase in number of such patients is to make screening mandatory before marriage. Managing the disease is extremely expensive apart from being painful for the patients so it is imperative to have pre-natal diagnosis as well”.

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