What is Thalassemia and Types of Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder characterised by low haemoglobin (Haemoglobin is an iron rich protein present within the Red Blood Cells of the body. Haemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body). Normal haemoglobin binds iron with alfa and beta globin (protein) chains. Due to genetic mutations in both the genes inherited from the parents, either alfa or beta chains are absent or reduced. This results in precipitation of other globin chains inside the red blood cells, leading to deformity of the red cells. These deformed red cells get destroyed either within the bone marrow (spongy material within the bones) or spleen resulting in anemia (Pallor). This is called Thalassemia Major.

 When an individual inherits only one abnormal gene, the manifestations are very mild. This is called Thalassemia Minor or Thalassemia Trait.

The commonest form of Thalassemia in India is Beta-Thalassemia, where Beta-globin chains are deficient. When instead of absolute absence of one type of globin chain, there is reduction only; the condition is called Thalassemia Intermedia.

Other Thalassemia like Syndromes such as HbE, HbD etc when co-inherited with Beta-thalassemia gene give rise to Thalassemia Intermedia.

What are the Symptoms of Thalassemia Major?
What are the Symptoms of Thalassemia Intermedia?
What are the Symptoms of Thalassemia Trait?
How do we Diagnose Thalassemia?
How do we treat Thalassemia Major?

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