Type of Thalassaemia
There are a number of different types of thalassaemia within these group, alpha thalassaemia being less diverse than beta thalassaemia
Alpha plus Thalassaemia
This is very common in some ethnic group. There are no symptoms and it usually goes unnoticed. There may be slight iron deficiency (anaemia) if the blood is tested for some reason. Sometimes people may be mistakenly diagnosed as having iron deficiency anaemia and be treated with iron medications unnecessarily.
Alpha Zero Thalassaemia
There are no symptoms and you are perfectly healthy. However, if both parents have alpha zero thalassaemia they have a 1 in 4 chance of having a baby who has alpha zero thalassaemia major which is imcompatible with life; the baby is often born prematurely and is dead or dies shortly after birth.
Beta Thalassaemia Trait (Carrier)
There are usually no symptoms and you are perfectly healthy, however there are an increased number of cells and they are smaller than those without the condition. It can cause mild anaemia because slightly less haemoglobin is produced than normal. This usually does not usually cause you any symptoms and cannot be treated by increased iron intake.
Beta Thalassaemia Major
Between birth and three to six months, your baby with Beta Thalassaemia Major will seem normal and quite healthy. Your baby will then begin to show symptoms of anaemia (they become pale) there may be shortness of breath, jaundice and an enlarged spleen. Without treatment, your child’s bones will grow abnormally and death will occur early in childhood. Also if the condition is poorly treated or between transfusions your child will be pale, lethargic and breathless. There may be yellowing (jaundice) of the eyes and skindue to excessive breakdown of red blood cells. Also with poor treatment growth may be delayed, there may be osteoporosis of the bones and the bones and the spleen may be damaged.
HOW DOES THALASSAEMIA HAPPEN?
Thalassaemia is a genetic blood disorder. This means that a person can only get Thalassaemia disease or trait by inheriting the genes for Thalassaemia from their parents.
Thalassaemia happened because it is passed down from healthy parents who are carriers:
-CARRIERS does not show any illness,but may pass on to next generation.
- Thalassaemia Minor (i.e carrier) occur when ONE of the parent is also a carrier.
- Thalassaemia Major only occurs in families when BOTH parents are carriers.
Throughout our life, the body makes red blood cells inside the bones based on biological information passed to us by our parents. We get half the information from our father and half from the mother.
Which half of th father’s or mother’s information we get is a matter of luck. Neither they no we have any choice.
If one of our parents passed on healthy information and the other passed on information with mistakes, we will healthy and still perfect red blood cells :however, we will be carrying the thalassaemia trait.