What is Thalassemia?
Hemoglobin is the protein found in red blood cells in our blood that is responsible for carrying oxygen to all the different parts of out body. Hemoglobin is made up of 4 protein chains, ie 2 beta globin and 2 alpha globin. Thalassemia occurs when there is decrease in production or absence of production of either of these chains, leading to malfunctioning hemoglobins that are unable to carry oxygen. This then leads to anemia.
Thalassemia is thus classified by the type of globin that is affected: either alpha thalassemia or beta thalassemia, and each is classified according to the severity of which one is affected, ie either thalassemia major or thalassemia minor. People with thalassemia minor, either alpha or beta, may not have any symptoms. Continue reading