Mediterranean Anemia and Social Security DisabilityMediterranean anemia is a genetic (hereditary) blood disease. What this means is that Mediterranean anemia is a disorder that you get because you inherit a mutated (defective) gene or genes from your parents; or, you are missing a gene or genes that you should have gotten. Mediterranean anemia is characterized by your body making less healthy red blood cells and less hemoglobin than what your body needs. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that is located in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin is the substance that causes your red blood cells to be able to carry oxygen to all of the parts of your body. When your hemoglobin is not defective it is known as hemoglobin A. Normal hemoglobin is composed of four protein chains. Two of these chains are called alpha globin, and two of the chains are referred to as beta globin. There are two main forms of Mediterranean anemia. They are alpha and beta Mediterranean anemia. Their names come from the defects that take place in these four protein chains.
Understanding the Necessary Genes for Protein ChainsThere are four genes that you need to have in order for a sufficient number of alpha globin protein chains to be made. Alpha Mediterranean anemia develops when one or two of the four genes that you have to have are missing. Moderate to severe Mediterranean anemia occurs when more than two of the genes are not there. There are two genes that you have to have in order to have a sufficient number of beta protein chains. You get one of these genes from each one of your parents. Beta Mediterranean anemia takes place when one or both of these genes are defective or missing. Mediterranean anemia is known by other names. It is also referred to as thalassemia and Cooleys anemia. Both men and women develop Mediterranean anemia. The disease develops most of the time in people who are of Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern, Asian and African descent. Fortunately, Mediterranean anemia is a rare disease. This means that it affects less than 200,000 people in the United States. As stated above, Mediterranean anemia is an inherited disease. The only way for you to get this disease is to inherit one or more defective hemoglobin genes from your parents. Because of the nature of Mediterranean anemia, there are two main risk factors that may increase your likelihood of having this disease. They are your family history and your ancestry.
Signs and Symptoms of Mediterranean AnemiaIf you have a mild type of Mediterranean anemia, you may not have any signs or symptoms at all. When you do have signs and symptoms with this disease, they depend on the form and severity of Mediterranean anemia that you are afflicted with. Possible signs and symptoms that you may experience are:
- ? Slow growth
- ? Fatigue and/or weakness
- ? Shortness of breath
- ? A protruding abdomen
- ? Jaundice (a yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes)
- ? A pale appearance
- ? Deformities in your facial bones
- ? Irritability
- ? Dark urine
- ? Swelling of your liver and spleen.
- Sickle Cell Anemia and SSA Disability Benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)