Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thalassemia and Chinese medicine

Thalassemia, being a genetic disease, runs in a family. Most are silent carriers or suffer mild anemia. Severe cases such as the Hemoglobin H disease with enlarged spleen, small body and malnourished look shows more prominent symptoms. [Pic below: Enlargement of spleen, small body]

TCM looks at Thalassemia from the genetic perspective too. Its symptoms such as anemia, feeling tired, paleness, jaundice, enlargement of spleen, pigmentation of skin, and skeletal deformity can be treated with Chinese herbs. Typically, there are three syndromes associated with it: The deficiency of kidney-qi is the fundamental syndrome as it relates to genetic effect. As time goes on, the child may suffer more deterioration of kidney-qi and thus the chance of accumulation of damp-heat in the body. Toward the third syndrome, the child loses more blood, more accumulation of damp-heat coupled with stagnation of blood.

Early symptoms such as slow growth, big head, protruded forehead and front teeth, collapsed or low nose bridge, wide gap between eyes must be observed closely for the degree of severity. [Pic below: Big forehead, low nose bridge, paleness]

Depending on the type, syndrome and severity, therapeutic principle varies accordingly.

For treatments for cases with obvious and known symptoms and syndrome, matching OTC (if there is any on the market) can help. For most other cases, treatments are individual based with herbal prescriptions.

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