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Home News and Update Year 2013 Blood disorder brought them together, now love binds them forever

Blood disorder brought them together, now love binds them forever

It has been a year now that 34-year-old Jatin Sejpal did not need blood transfusions, thanks to a new treatment offered by a city-based doctor to treat thalassaemia major. Sejpal who was undergoing painful transfusions since the age of five tied the knot with 25-year-old Megha Naikodi who is also suffering from thalassaemia major.

"I was quite clear that I would marry someone with a similar problem so we can understand each other," he said.

Thalassaemia major brought Jatin and Megha together. This is the second such marriage in the community, Dr Nita Munshi, President of the Indian Thalassaemia Society (Pune), said, hoping that it would create awareness that the disease can be prevented and treated.

Sejpal, who is a counsellor at the Indian Red Cross Society and member of the Thalassaemia society of Pune, said there are 1,000 such patients in the city.

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"We have similar issues and problems and help each other cope with it. Apart from multiple tests and expensive treatment to remove the excess iron load, I had to undergo blood transfusion every fortnight from the age of five. Still I completed my graduation and adopted a positive approach towards life by helping and guiding others," he said.

A US FDA approved anti-cancer drug that contains hydroxyurea along with wheatgrass tablets are used in combination to treat thalassaemia major patients for raising the haemoglobin level and thereby avoiding blood transfusion.

Several thalassaemia major patients are now taking this drug and avoid blood transfusion, Munshi said. "However, we have to conduct molecular tests to check if there are any mutations of the gene and and if the person is responding to the new treatment," she said.

Approximately 8 per cent of the entire population have thalassaemia trait and there are 13,000 live births of thalassaemia every year. Munshi said it was most important to spread awareness that thalassaemia major is preventable. People with thalassaemia major have severe anaemia and can be life threatening if untreated. The disease is inherited from the defective blood forming genes of the parents.

If one of the two inherited genes is defective then the child is born with thalassaemia minor (trait) but if both the inherited genes are defective, the child is born with thalassaemia major. Couples should test whether they have a thalassaemia trait so that their offspring does not suffer from the disease. In both husband and wife are thalassaemics then the pregnancy should be monitored.

Source :
Indian Express
19 July 2013, Pune, India

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