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An appropriate health professional or medical doctor should always be consulted if a serious condition is suspected. All the information here should not be considered as conclusive medical advice.

 Related test item Description
Total RBC
Blood cell that delivers oxygen to the body tissues through the circulatory system.
(Packed Cell Volume)
Is a percentage of total blood volume that is occupied by packed red blood cells when a volume of whole blood is centrifuged at a constant speed.
Iron Common cause of anaemia.

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder – that is passed from parents to children through the genes. Thalassemia causes the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anemia.

There are two main types of thalassemia:

Alpha thalassemia:

When a gene or genes related to the alpha globin protein are missing.

i. If you are missing one gene – Silent carrier. This means you won't have any signs of illness, does not have any symptoms.

ii. If you are missing two genes – Alpha thalassemia trait (also called alpha thalassemia minor). This normally does not cause health problems, but you may have mild anemia.

iii. If you are missing three genes – Hemoglobin H disease. This causes moderate to severe anemia.

iv. If you are missing four genes – Alpha thalassemia major (Hydrops fetalis). This is a life threatening disease. Very rarely, a baby will be missing all four genes. Babies who have hydrops fetalis usually die before or shortly after birth.

Beta thalassemia:

When similar gene defects affect production of the beta globin protein.

i. If you have one altered gene – Beta thalassemia trait (also called beta thalassemia minor). It causes mild anemia.

ii. If both genes are altered – Beta thalassemia major (also called Cooley's anemia). The disorder causes moderate to severe anemia.