Thalassemia is a genetic disease which causes a deficiency of hemoglobin and red blood cells in the body. Hemoglobin transfers oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. It is inherited from the parents. It develops in the babies within first two years of their life. Its symptoms included delayed growth, extreme tiredness, jaundice, bone deformities and dark urine. It can be mild, moderate or severe.1 Some babies carry only thalassemia trait; they do not develop the disease; they just carry the mutated genes. Around one lakh babies are born each year with thalassemia.
How Many Babies Are Born With Thalassemia?
According to WHO, about hundred thousand babies are born with thalassemia every year worldwide! In them, 56000 babies suffer from major thalassemia; out of which 30000 babies need a regular transfusion and nearly 55500 babies die soon after birth due to alpha thalassemia major. About 12% of the babies born each year have beta thalassemia that needs an actual blood transfusion. 40% of them need iron chelation therapy. 3000 out of them die in their teenage or early 20s due to iron overload.
Thalassemia occurs in 4.4 of 10,000 live births worldwide. This means 4 babies out of 10000 babies born daily in the world have thalassemia. Variations of alpha and beta thalassemia are seen in 5% of the world’s population. Unknowingly, few people are a carrier of the disease. This accounts for nearly 1.7% of the global population which has been resulted from a mutation in the genes. This condition is also known as thalassemia trait.2
Thalassemia is a genetic disease which runs in families. The parents are either carrier of the defective genes or patients of thalassemia. The severity or carrier state of the disease depends upon the number of mutated genes transferred to the baby from his parents. If both the parents are a carrier of thalassemia, then there is
- 25% chances that child born will have the disease.
- 50% chances that the child born will be a carrier of the disease
- 25% chances that the child born will neither have the disease nor will be a carrier of the disease.
If one parent is carrier alpha thalassemia and another one is a carrier of beta thalassemia, then the child born will not have any of the traits. In such condition, there are very less chances their child will have beta thalassemia. If one of the parents is suffering from thalassemia and other is a carrier, then there is a possibility that their child will have the disease too.3
Thalassemia is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by a low production of healthy blood cells and hemoglobin in the body. Hemoglobin is a protein found in the red blood cells which carry oxygen from lungs to different parts of the body. It results in anemia in the body which is caused due to lack of healthy red blood cells in the body.
It affects both the sexes equally. It is of two types, alpha and beta thalassemia based on the affection of protein alpha or beta globin.4
Thalassemia is inherited from parents who carry mutated genes in them. These genes code instruction for the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the body. The symptoms of thalassemia do not appear soon after birth. It appears within the first two years of the baby. The babies born with thalassemia have following problems-
- Tired and exhausted always
- Inability to feed properly
- Pale or yellow skin
- Deformities in the bones of the face
- Delayed growth
- Dark urine5
Thalassemia is an autosomal recessive disease inherited from the parents. It is characterized by low production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. About one hundred thousand babies are born with thalassemia every year. Its symptoms develop in the babies within first two years of their life.