A total of 8,042 people was diagnosed with thalassemia and were identified as the disease’s carrier in the country as at December last year, according to a report by Astro Awani
Health minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad told the news portal that the figures were based on a report published called ‘Malaysian Thalassemia Report’.
The report also revealed that more than 5,000 patients were critical and require periodic treatment through blood transfusion.
However, he said it is encouraging that there is an improvement in the lifespan of a thalassemia patient because it shows that the latest treatment and technology has helped them to live past 40 years old.
Nevertheless, Dr Dzulkefly said the government had to fork out more than RM3mil to treat each patient for as long as they live, not to mention the escalating cost of treatment.
In view of this, he urged the public to undergo thalassemia screening tests to learn their thalassemia statuses before it's too late.
What is thalassemia?
According to Mayoclinic
, thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder characterised by less hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells in your body than normal.
It is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells that generate hemogoblin, a substance in your red blood cells that allows it to carry oxygen. As thalassemia is a genetic disease, it is usually passed from parents to their children.
A severe case of thalassemia could lead to death (patients with beta thalassemia major require regular blood transfusions), but those with minor thalassemia will often feel fatigued all the time.
So, if you're always complaining about being tired, you should consult a doctor as soon as you can.