People with Thalassemia Should Limit Consumption of Red Meat and Spinach, Here’s Why!


JAKARTA Thalassemia is a hereditary disease with the main symptoms of pale, enlarged abdomen due to swelling of the spleen and liver, and if not treated properly will change the shape of the facial bones and skin color to black.

Thalassemia patients are mostly children. This disease can be recognized since the age of 6 months by showing symptoms of a pale body, one of them.

Thalassemia occurs due to disruption of the formation of globin chains which are components of red blood cells. Disorders of alpha globin chain formation are referred to as alpha thalassemia, while disorders of beta chain formation are called beta thalassemias.

Furthermore, when discussing this disease, there is still a belief in society that thalassemia patients are prohibited from eating red meat. Is that true?

Also Read: Need Special Treatment, Here’s How To Treat and Treat Thalassemia!

Ruswandi, chairman of the Indonesian Thalassemia Parents Association (POPTI Pusat) and the Indonesian Thalassemia Foundation (YTI), explained that this assumption was wrong.

“It is not forbidden or not allowed at all for thalassemia patients to eat red meat such as beef, but what is appropriate is that they are allowed to eat but there are limits,” he said in a health webinar entitled ‘Life in Peace with Thalassemia’, Monday (31/5/2021).

In addition to beef, Ruswandi also reminded patients or families of Thalassemia patients that spinach is rich in iron should also reduce the portion.

Why should beef and spinach be limited for Thalassemia patients?

Ruswandi explained that in the bodies of Thalassemia patients, they already have very high levels of iron. So, when the intake of foods or drinks containing iron is still accepted in uncontrolled amounts, it will worsen health conditions.

“Thalasemia patients’ bodies already have high iron levels. Yes, if they eat beef or spinach in large quantities, it will actually harm their bodies,” he added.

Meanwhile, Consultant Hematology Oncology for Children, Dr. Bambang Sudarmanto, Sp.A(K), MARS, explained that Thalassemia patients require routine blood transfusion therapy. Because of this therapy, they have to take iron chelation drugs for life.

Also Read: Prevent Prospective Baby from Having Thalassemia, You Should Do This Before Getting Married

“Iron chelation therapy that thalassemia patients undergo is expected to destroy iron buildup in organs such as the liver, heart, pancreas, and pituitary. If not destroyed, there will be a high risk of disease complications,” explained Dr. Bambang.

In detail, iron chelation therapy will be given to thalassemia patients if the serum ferritin is 1000 mg/L or the transferrin saturation is 50 percent and has undergone 10 to 20 blood transfusions. “The dosage is 25 to 35 mg/kgBB per day,” he added.




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