How Is Thalassemia Minor Treated?

If you are a thalassemia minor usually you do not need any treatment. The anemia does not affect your daily activities and you can usually manage without any treatment. You should avoid taking iron supplements without doing serum ferritin level and without medical advice. Low Hb in the full blood count does not means its iron deficiency anemia and taking iron supplements can overload your body with iron if the reason for low Hb is thalassemia minor.

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The important thing is before you marry your partner should be checked for the thalassemia trait. If your partner is also a thalassemia trait for each pregnancy:

  • There is a 25% chance of child getting thalassemia disease (thalassemia major)
  • There is a 50% chance of thalassemia trait
  • There is a 25% chance of being normal

Before getting pregnant you and your partner needs genetic counseling, especially if both of you have the trait. Since there is a possibility that your child can have thalassemia, it is important you attend these sessions and make a decision wisely.

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If you develop severe anemia during the pregnancy period, you need to do investigations to see if there is IDA concurrently. If so, you can take iron supplements. If the Hb levels do not rise you may need a blood transfusion.

Thalassemia Minor Or Trait

You should remember you do not have the disease and it will never occur in the future. You have inherited the trait from one of your parents the same way you can pass on the trait to some of your children.

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You can have mild anemia, usually this does not affect your daily activities usually detected at a routine blood investigation. However, during the pregnancy period some women can develop moderate or severe anemia with concurrent iron deficiency anemia (IDA).

Thalassemia is a blood disorder (haemoglobinopathy) that is inherited in which abnormal form of hemoglobin is made in the body. It is an autosomal recessive disease. Hemoglobin is the molecule which carries oxygen for the body cells. It has two parts a haem molecule and four globin chains. Globin chains are proteins which has two types: Two alpha globin chains and two beta globin chains.

There are few types of hemoglobin’s:

Hemoglobin FormChain CompositionDescription
HbA α2 β2 HbA is the main type of adult hemoglobin. 90% of adult hemoglobin is HbA
HbA2 α2 δ2 This is a minor component of adult hemoglobin, accounting for about 2.5% of adult hemoglobin.
HbF α2 γ2 This is the normal fetal hemoglobin and it is only synthesized during fetal life.

Thalassemia occurs when a gene or genes related to the alpha or beta globin chains are missing or mutated and this cause decrease or absent production of hemoglobin. There are two main types of thalassemia according to what globin chain that is defected:

  • Alpha thalassemia
  • Beta thalassemia

Thalassemia can also be divided as:

Thalassemia Major: The defect is in both globin chains; therefore, these people cannot produce required number of normal HbA hemoglobin. They have severe anemia and need transfusions for the survival.

Thalassemia Minor: Thalassemia minor is also known as the trait. These people are thalassemia carriers. The defect in one of your alpha or beta globin chain and the other one is perfectly normal. These people usually do not have symptoms; sometimes can have a mild anemia. They lead a normal life most of the time.

Summary

Thalassemia is a blood disorder (haemoglobinopathy) that is inherited in which abnormal form of hemoglobin is made in the body. There are two main types of thalassemia according to what globin chain that is defected: alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia. Thalassemia can also be divided as: thalassemia major where the defect is in both globin chains and thalassemia minor or trait where the defect in one of your alpha or beta globin chain and the other one is perfectly normal. Thalassemia minor people usually do not have symptoms; sometimes can have a mild anemia. They lead a normal life most of the time and do not need any treatment. During pregnancy if women develops severe anemia along with iron deficiency anemia, iron supplements and blood transfusion may be needed.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 10, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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