Psychosocial Effects of Iron Chelation on Thalassemia Patients
Introduction: Hemodialysis is a serious consequence of transfusions in the treatment of b-thalassemia major. Iron deficiency burdens the psychology of patients and due to the complexity and long process can be abandoned as a treatment.
Aim: To study the perceptions and limitations experienced by patients undergoing iron deficiency, as well as the psychological effects.
Methodology: The study was conducted in the Mediterranean Anemia Unit of Evangelismos Hospital. The study included patients with b-Mediterranean anemia, who were informed about the purpose of the study and gave signed consent. The research is a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews.
Results: The analysis of 70 patient interviews (32 men - 38 women) showed that the majority of patients (54 participants) are regular in iron deficiency therapy, as they find that it improves survival expectancy. Six participants are not regular, as they feel that it limits them significantly, while the rest try to be regular, as they recognize its benefits. 41 participants have a positive attitude towards treatment, of which 13 state that treatment improves their quality of life, while the remaining 29 have a negative attitude towards treatment. Regarding the existence of a supportive environment, 47 participants state that they have a supportive family environment, while 11 participants state that they hide from the family environment and 12 participants have experienced or are still experiencing the stigma due to the disease.
Conclusions: It is important to facilitate patients with iron deficiency treatments, which do not limit their daily life. Also, the psychological support of patients with thalassemia is important, so that they overcome the obstacles of the disease and live a life with fewer obstacles.
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