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Iron overload in patients with thalassemia major (TM) affects glucose regulation, and is mediated by several mechanisms. These include the oxidative damage inflicted by iron on the pancreatic ß -cells and liver cells leading to pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction and insulin resistance. These disturbances have been identified by oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), euglycemic insulin clamp, homeostatic model assessment (HOMA), intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGT) and continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS). A group of endocrinologists, hematologists and paediatricians, members of the International Network of Clinicians for Endocrinopathies in Thalassemia and Adolescence Medicine (ICET-A) convened to formulate recommendations for the diagnosis and management of abnormalities of glucose homeostasis in thalassemia major patients on the basis of available evidence from clinical and laboratory data and consensus practice. The results of their work and discussions are described in this article.
Key words: Thalassemia major; Glucose homeostasis; Diagnosis; Management; Guidelines