World Thalassemia Day: Everything you must Know about the Fatal Disease

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 08, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Thalassemia is an inherited condition
  • Abnormal form of hemoglobin is produced in the body
  • Destruction of red blood cells takes place
  • Treatment depends on the type

Marked by the World Health Organization as the World Thalassemia Day, May 8th is celebrated each year to raise awareness about the disease. So, on this day we tell you everything you should know about the disease.

What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder, in which the body starts making an abnormal form of haemoglobin. The condition results in excessive destruction of red blood cells causing anemia. The disorder also deprives the body of normal, healthy red blood cells. 

It is an inherited disease, which means at least one of the parents must be the carrier of this disease.

Causes and Risk Factors

The condition usually occurs when an abnormality or mutation takes place in one of the genes involved in the production of haemoglobin. The defect is inherited from parents. 

In cases where only one of the parents is a carrier of thalassemia, you may develop the disease called thalassemia minor. In such cases, no symptoms as such will be seen. However, some people might experience minor symptoms.

If both the parents are carriers of thalassemia, the child has 25 percent chances of inheriting a serious form of the disease.

Symptoms of Thalassemia

The symptoms of thalassemia completely depend on its type. While patients with thalassemia minor usually experience minor or no symptoms at all, the serious type of thalassemia can be categorized as thalassemia major and thalassemia intermedia.

The symptoms of thalassemia major start appearing usually before the child’s second year of birth. The severe anemia which is related to this condition can be life-threatening for the patient.

Thalassemia intermedia is comparatively a less severe form of beta thalassemia. Although people with this type of thalassemia suffer from anemia, blood transfusion is not needed in these cases.

Thalassemia Treatment

Treatment of the condition entirely depends on the type and severity of disease. The course of treatment will include:

  • Blood transfusion
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Medications and supplements
  • Possible surgery to remove the spleen and/or gallbladder

Read more on Blood Diseases.

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