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Know All The Facts About Thalassemia - Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Posted On: Jan 29, 2024

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Thalassemia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Thalassemia is a common blood disorder in the Indian subcontinent that affects the production of haemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells carry oxygen. People with thalassemia have less haemoglobin than normal, which can lead to anaemia. Anaemia can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and pale skin. Thalassemia is a genetic disorder, which means that it is passed down from parents to children. There are two main types of thalassemia: alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia. The severity of thalassemia varies depending on the type and how many genes are affected.

There is no cure for thalassemia apart from bone marrow transplant, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment for thalassemia may include blood transfusions, iron chelation therapy, and supportive care. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about thalassemia, including the symptoms, causes, and treatment. We hope that this information will help you to understand this condition better and make informed decisions about your health. You may also book an appointment with our highly experienced haematologists in Pune at Manipal Hospital Baner. 


Causes of Thalassemia

Thalassemia is caused by mutations in the genes that code for haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Hemoglobin is made up of two types of protein chains, alpha globin and beta globin. Mutations in the alpha-globin genes cause alpha-thalassemia, while mutations in the beta-globin genes cause beta-thalassemia. To know more, visit the best hematology hospital in Baner

Symptoms of Thalassemia

The symptoms of thalassemia vary depending on the severity of the condition. People with mild thalassemia may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Pale skin

  • Shortness of breath

People with moderate or severe thalassemia may have more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Severe fatigue and weakness.

  • Pale skin and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).

  • Abdominal swelling

  • Dark urine

  • Slow growth and development.

  • Bone deformities

  • Delayed puberty

  • Frequent infections

In some cases, thalassemia can lead to life-threatening complications, such as heart problems, liver problems, and lung problems.

Thalassemia Treatment

  • Blood Transfusions

Regular blood transfusions are the main treatment for moderate or severe thalassemia. Blood transfusions help to increase the number of red blood cells and haemoglobin in the body.

  • Iron Chelation Therapy

Iron chelation therapy is a treatment that helps to remove excess iron from the body. Iron overload is a common complication of thalassemia, and it can damage organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas.

  • Bone Marrow Transplant

A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow. Bone marrow transplants are the only cure for thalassemia major, the most severe form of the disease.

In addition to these medical treatments, there are also several lifestyle changes that people with thalassemia can make to improve their quality of life. These lifestyle changes include:

  • Eating a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can help to improve overall health and well-being. People with thalassemia should eat a diet that is rich in iron-rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, beans, and lentils. They should also avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar.

  • Getting Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can help to improve overall health and fitness. People with thalassemia should exercise regularly, but they should avoid strenuous activity.

  • Avoiding Alcohol and Tobacco

Alcohol and tobacco can damage organs and make thalassemia symptoms worse. People with thalassemia should avoid alcohol and tobacco.

  • Getting Regular Checkups

People with thalassemia should see their doctor regularly to monitor their condition and manage any complications.

If you are concerned about your risk of having a child with thalassemia, please contact our expert haematologist in Pune for the right guidance. Our experts can help you to understand your risk factors and make informed decisions about your health. We also invite you to explore our official blog page to read blogs penned by our experienced doctors on various topics related to health and nutrition. 


Thalassemia is passed down from parents to children. If both parents have a copy of the mutated gene, the child has a 25% chance of having thalassemia major, the most severe form of the disease. If only one parent has a copy of the mutated gene, the child has a 50% chance of having thalassemia minor, a mild form of the disease.

Thalassemia is a genetic disorder, so there is no way to completely prevent it. However, there are some steps that people can take to reduce their risk of having a child with thalassemia. Carrier testing and prenatal diagnosis are two tests to check for the signs of thalassemia.

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