Thalassemia is a is an inherited blood disorder in which the red blood cells are weakened or destroyed. This disorder is caused by missing genes that effect the production of hemoglobin in the body. Thalassemia can cause a number of complications such as iron overload, bone deformities, and cardiovascular diseases.
Red blood cells carry hemoglobin which carries oxygen through the entire body. Hemoglobin is made by bone marrow from food that we eat. Thalassemia is an inherited disease of the blood that affect a person's ability to produce hemoglobin in which the red blood cells are weakened or destroyed. This disorder is caused by a missing gene the effects the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen and nutrients to cells in the body. Thalassemia occurs most frequently in people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Southern Asian and African Ancestry.
There are two main types of Thalassemia called major and minor. To develop thalassemia major one must have inherited the gene from both majors. To develop thalassemia minor you must have inherited the gene from only one parent. The most severe form of thalassemia will result in still born births. Other symptoms can include bone deformities, fatigue, growth failure, shortness of breath, and yellow skin. Those with thalassemia major usually show symptoms within the first two years of life. Without treatment, the spleen, liver and heart soon become greatly enlarged. Frequent blood transfusions are necessary to keep their hemoglobin levels up, but this could lead to iron overload. This could damage the heart, liver, or other organs. Thalassemia can be cured with a bone marrow transplant; however, there are only few people who have a suitable donor.
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