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Treating Thalassemia

The primary treatment is regular blood transfusions to treat and prevent anaemia, but this can lead to excess iron in the body (known as iron overloading), which in turn can cause problems with the heart, liver and hormone levels if not treated with chelation therapy. The current average life expectancy (with treatment) is 40 to 50 years old, but this is expected to increase significantly with improvements in treatments.

The only cure for thalassaemia is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, but there is a significant risk of death with these and they are not used very often for thalassemia.