Thalassemia

Also known as

  • Thalassemia Major Thalassemia Minor Thalassemia Trait Thalassemia Alpha Thalassemia Beta

People with thalassemia make less hemoglobin and have fewer circulating red blood cells than normal, which results in mild or severe microcytic anemia. Thalassemia can cause complications, including iron overload, bone deformities, and cardiovascular illness.

Condition details

People with thalassemia can get an overload of iron in their bodies, either from the disease itself or from frequent blood transfusions. Too much iron can result in damage to the heart, liver, and endocrine system, which includes glands that produce hormones that regulate processes throughout the body. The damage is characterized by excessive deposits of iron. Without adequate iron chelation therapy, almost all patients with beta-thalassemia accumulate potentially fatal iron levels. If both parents are carriers of the thalassemia gene there is a 1 in 4 chance of a child acquiring Thalassemia. Carriers of the gene display no symptoms except anaemia or borderline anaemia. It is therefore important to consider genetic counselling prior to starting a family if both parents originate from areas where Thalassemia is prevalent (Mediterranean countries/usa/ north Africa/middle east).

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Photos of affected individuals

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  • No baby imageBaby
  • No toddler imageToddler
  • No child 4-10 imageChild 4-10
  • No child 10-18 imageChild 10-18
  • No adult imageAdult

Typical age range of first manifestation

  • Does not manifest in Baby
  • Does not manifest in Toddler
  • Does not manifest in Child 4-10
  • Does not manifest in Child 10-18
  • Does not manifest in Adult

Symptoms

Affected genes identified to date

Inheritance patterns

Are carriers affected?

How many are affected?

Support groups and organisations

United Kingdom Thalassaemia Society
19 The Broadway
Southgate Circus
London
N14 6PH
Tel 020 8882 0011
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