Thalassemia is a genetic disease characterized by low production of hemoglobin and red blood cells in the body. This disease leads to the destruction of red blood cells resulting in anemia. Hemoglobin is needed to carry oxygen to different cells of our body. This disease is of two types, one is thalassemia minor and other is thalassemia major. It occurs due to the inheritance of defective genes from one or both parents or by mutation of genes. It is represented by symptoms such as extreme tiredness, fatigue, dark urine, delayed growth and many more.

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What Are The Chances Of Getting Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is inherited from one or both parents who carry the defective genes. These mutated genes cause the destruction of red blood cells at a higher rate than normal. This leads to a deficiency of hemoglobin in the body. It depends on the number of defective genes inherited from the parents. There are two types of thalassemia that can explain the chances of an individual getting thalassemia. These are alpha and beta thalassemia depending upon the -

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Alpha Thalassemia

In this type of thalassemia, four defective genes are inherited from the parents, two from mother and another two from father. It affects mostly people belonging to Southeast Asian, Chinese, Indian, or Filipino descent. Chances of developing thalassemia depend on how many defective genes are passed to the children-

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  • If one gene is passed, then the children born are a carrier of the disease but they will not have any sign or symptoms of the disease.
  • If two genes are passed to the children, then they will show mild symptoms.
  • If three genes are passed to the children, then they will represent moderate to severe symptoms of the disease.
  • If all the four genes are passed, the child will have severe symptoms and will not survive long.

Beta Thalassemia

In this type of thalassemia, only two defective genes are inherited from the parents, one from each parent. It occurs in people from the Mediterranean, Asian or African descent.

  • If one of the defective genes is transferred to the child, then he will have mild symptoms of the disease.
  • If both the mutated genes are transferred, then the child will have moderate to severe form of the disease and can survive only up to first two years of his life.
  • If both the parents are a carrier of beta 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 fewer chances that 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.

Thalassemia is one of the blood disorders that lead to the destruction of red blood cells in the body. In thalassemia, the body is not able to produce sufficient red blood cells as compared to the destruction. This results in a deficiency of hemoglobin in our body. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. This thereby results in anemia in the body.

Conclusion

Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that is characterized by destruction of red blood cells and hemoglobin higher than normal. It passes to the children if one of the parents has thalassemia or another partner is a carrier or both the partners are a carrier.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: December 31, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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