Mother, This is a Healthy Lifestyle for Children with Thalassemia

“Thalasemia is a blood disorder inherited from parents. Children with thalassemia must live a healthy lifestyle and therefore, monitoring and support from parents is needed. “Thalasemia occurs because the protein responsible for forming hemoglobin is unable to work and function properly. In fact, hemoglobin is an important aspect of red blood cells which functions to carry oxygen and circulate it to all parts of the body.

Children with thalassemia will tire easily, pale, and experience stunted growth due to lack of blood. In fact, for more severe conditions, thalassemia that occurs in children can also have an impact on bone abnormalities and swelling in the abdominal area.

To prevent a more severe condition, the doctor will recommend a proper diagnosis. What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is a type of congenital blood disorder that is passed from parents' genes to their children. Because the risk factors are genetic problems, there is no definite prevention for thalassemia.

Blood consists of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.

Thalassemia causes the body to produce fewer healthy red blood cells and less hemoglobin than is necessary for regular functioning.

Thalassemia affects both males and females and is most common in people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African descent. The severe form is usually diagnosed in early childhood and is a lifelong condition. There are two types of thalassemia namely alpha-thalassemia and beta-thalassemia.

Healthy Lifestyle for Children with Thalassemia

It is very important for people with thalassemia to know that living a healthy lifestyle including managing the disease is a healthy choice. Therefore, it is very important to monitor certain lifestyles for people with thalassemia.

1. Do Vaccines Regularly

Vaccines are essential for preventing many serious infections. Children and adults with thalassemia should get all of the recommended vaccinations. People with thalassemia are at high risk for certain infections and must follow special vaccinations according to the doctor's schedule.

2. Optimize Nutrition Intake

Consumption of nutritious food is equally important as part of a healthy lifestyle. A diet high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat foods is ideal for helping the body get adequate nutritional intake. People with thalassemia may need to limit their intake of foods high in iron, because too much iron can build up in the blood.

Foods that contain iron can come from meat, fish and some vegetables (eg spinach). Other products, such as cereals and orange juice are also rich in iron. Therefore, it is important to limit consumption of these types of food. Mothers can also consult a doctor regarding the amount of iron contained in food.

3. Exercising Routine and Doing Physical Activity

Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle that can help boost the body's immunity. Unfortunately, people with thalassemia may find it difficult to do strenuous exercise.

Instead, do light exercise such as walking or cycling. If a child with thalassemia has problems with the joints of the body, exercise options, such as swimming, water aerobics, and yoga.

4. Always Provide Support

Having warm and supportive relationships is an important part of life. Support from many people, including playmates, classmates, and family members is important to raise the spirits of children with thalassemia. Make sure the mother always provides support and encouragement to the child in undergoing treatment and activities.

In commemorating World Thalassemia Day, the hope is always to continue to support children with thalassemia and their parents. Family plays an important role in providing enthusiasm and creating a healthy lifestyle.

Children with thalassemia who are well controlled are actually still able to remain active and do activities as usual like other healthy children.

Even so, if the thalassemia that occurs in children is severe enough or signs of complications have appeared, such as heart failure, anemia, or hepatosplenomegaly, the doctor may suggest that the child limit his activities.

Thalassemia is a disorder that can get treatment and management properly. Children with thalassemia need to receive regular medical care from a hematologist (a medical specialist who treats blood diseases or disorders) or a doctor who specializes in treating thalassemia patients.

So, make sure the mother continues to monitor the development and health condition of the baby. Don't forget to always ask children everything they feel, including whether there are other complaints or not. This can make it easier for the mother to tell the child's current condition during the next health check-up visit.

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