Dr. Akeel Moosa, Consultant Clinical Hematologist and Director of Lab at The Royale Hayat Hospital, obtained his PhD in Thrombosis and Haemostasis from the University of Sheffield, U.K. in 1990. He successfully practiced medicine in the U.K. since 1990 and acquired his fellowship with The Royal College of Pathologists in Clinical Haematology in 1996. Once his training was completely, Dr. Akeel was appointed as a Senior Consultant Clinical Hematologist at Dorset, UK, since 1997, a role he excelled in, until a year and a half ago when he joined The Royale Hayat family.
Why did you choose this particular field of medicine? There is something very unique about clinical hematology; it combines the practical aspect of medicine i.e. being a physician, as well as being a pathologist, which is working in the lab. It is actually the only discipline of medicine where a physician can treat a patient face to face, make diagnostic decisions as well as work in the lab. For example, for a patient with a specific blood condition, we can do everything from A-Z; starting with diagnosis to biopsy, if needed as well as starting treatment all under one clinic.
Let us start with the basics. How often should one get a regular blood checkup? Like with everything in medicine, opinions vary. Some may say that you do not need regular checkups until you reach the landmark age of 50. But in some cases, such as diabetes, regular checkups are crucial to detect intake of wrong medication or dosage, which could cause irreparable side effects, hence requiring regular monitoring. My personal thought is that if a person is young and healthy with no history of significant family health issues, regular checkups should start at 50. It is difficult to generalize as there is no plan that fits all. If a person is asymptomatic then they should take a blood test every three to five years.
What are the most common blood disorders in our region? The majority of the population of this country are of young age, so the main problem of blood nature would be anemia. Iron deficiency by far is the most popular. This is mostly because of the type of food we eat. Also, the social aspect, such as multiple pregnancies, is also a reason. Blood loss as a potentially serious cause of Anaemia that has to be ruled out. Another is hereditary anemia, like thalassemia and Sickle cell Disease.
What are the first signs that show if a person is anemic? The main symptoms of significant anemia are caused by problems with oxygen delivery. So the patient may feel like he or she is lacking energy, is always tired and sleepy. Another side effect in cases of severe anemia would be breathlessness on exertion. For iron deficiency anemia, one will notice a negative impact on the health of the skin, hair and nails.
What precautions should we take to prevent anemia? Making sure the diet is balanced, making sure diet contain the essential minerals. For patients who have any one of the symptoms mentioned above, the patient should seek help.
What other blood related diseases can be affecting a person’s daily life? Anemia is one main aspect, which is a problem with red blood cells. When it comes to blood platelets, both low and high levels have their own consequences. Also, white blood cells’ main role is to defend our bodies from infections; if someone has very low levels of white blood cells they are more prone to have an infection.
What are your thoughts on multivitamins? Could they help with these problems? Generally speaking, if a person is eating a healthy diet, they would not need supplements. That is not always the case, unfortunately, as there are other aspects such as absorption. For example, tea interferes with the absorption of iron. Vitamin D deficiency is really important to check, as low levels of vitamin D can cause depression, weight gain, and loss of bone density. Some studies show that taking Folic Acid as a supplement can delay Alzheimer’s disease. Also, really good supplements to take are Omega 3s which tend to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Words: Rawan Qabazard
Who is Dr. Akeel Moosa?
Consultant Clinical Hematologist and Director of Lab – Laboratory Service – The Royale Hayat Hospital
• PhD in Thrombosis and Haemostasis from University of Sheffield (United Kingdome)• PhD in Thrombosis and Haemostasis from University of Sheffield (United Kingdome)• Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in Clinical Haematology(FRCPath – Clinical Haem)