16 Apr Andy Battaglia’s 3 tips for living a healthy life with thalassemia
Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Andy Battaglia. A key influencer and advocate for the thalassemia community, this is his experience about what helps for living a healthy life with thalassemia.
Andy was first beginning to learn about thalassemia 16 years ago. He asked Lisa Cammilleri, the founder of thalpal, how long a thalassemic could expect to live. She told him that the mid-thirties was a good life expectancy. Lisa had little faith she could live beyond that age and passed away shortly after her 34th birthday.
What Andy saw in those years only reaffirmed that this was typical, even though some individuals managed to live beyond that age and were well on their way to age 40 and even 50! This was remarkable to him. For the most part, he continued to see patients living to their 30’s at most. Incredibly, there has been a major change in this projection of life expectancy since then. “The life of the thalassemic in today’s world is far different than it was just a few years ago and one can expect that this trend will continue at a rapid pace in the coming years”, says Andy, as a result to ongoing research and treatment options. From his experience, Andy has learned about what helps for living a healthy life with thalassemia.
“The life of the thalassemic in today’s world is far different than it was just a few years ago and one can expect that this [positive] trend will continue at a rapid pace in the coming years”. – Andy Battaglia
We asked Andy what thalassemia patients need to keep in mind when taking care of their health. This is what he considers the top three basics for a thalassemic to have their body functioning at its best. He reminds us that of course, there is much else involved with maintaining and monitoring health, but these are the top three he is excited to share with you!
Tip 1 for living a healthy life with thalassemia: Maintaining a stable hemoglobin level is important
One big change in the approach to thalassemia treatment over the past two decades is the importance of hemoglobin (Hb). Maintaining as close to normal of an Hb level as possible is key to normal growth and development. The old theory of keeping Hb as low as possible to minimize iron intake has fallen by the wayside.
Tip 2 for living a healthy life with thalassemia: Chelation therapy can allow for more frequent blood transfusions and better health
Blood transfusions are essential for a thalassemia patient. Blood donation helps sufficient oxygen supply to the organs and all of the body. This enhances physical development. Transfusions also have the added benefit of allowing patients to feel better and carry on with their daily lives. It’s great to see the realization that their efforts will be rewarded with good health.
Tip 3 for living a healthy life with thalassemia: Protect the body from the damaging effects of free iron
The body and its glands and organs need to be protected from iron oxidation in the body. Oxidation from iron and other radicals is a constant and preventing the damage that this oxidation can cause is becoming a new focus of treatment in thalassemia and this group has been a leader in spreading the word about the many benefits of taking antioxidants and various other supplements that are necessary to supply the high amount of nutrients required by the thalassemic patient.
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More from Andy:
I have devoted much of the past sixteen years to furthering my own understanding of thalassemia and its treatments. Sharing this knowledge with as wide an audience as possible through this website, social media and in person is helping to guide others. Our work and our efforts to reach out to all the thalassemia community have made and are making a big difference in the lives of many. This work will continue as more people embrace the concept of living a healthy life with thalassemia.
Thank you Andy for your time and contribution to the ThaliMe community. Join us in ThaliMe for more premium content and connect with other thalassemia patients in a private support network. Available in English, Greek, and Arabic! Click here to download the app for free!
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