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Does my son need treatment for thalassaemia minor?

Q: My 18 years old son has been diagnosed as thalassaemic minor. He has been advised iron tablets. He is now studying engineering. He is very lazy and does not take interest in any work including his studies.

A:Thalassaemia minor is not a state where one gets iron deficiency, generally speaking, and especially in a male. The information that I would have appreciated for appropriate advice would have been: CBC including Hb level, status of iron stores (especially serum ferritin). In thalassaemia minor, as is also seen in thalassaemia major, the dysfunctional red cells having inappropriate HbA get destroyed in the marrow and the iron content from these remains in the marrow. Therefore, iron supplements are not really required. Only in patients where there is inadequate iron intake or in ladies, the possibility of iron deficiency crops up.

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