Thalassemia describes a group of blood disorders that is caused by changes to the genes that control the production of oxygen-carrying molecules (haemoglobins) in red blood cells.
What happens when you have thalassemia?
People whose genes are affected by these changes may produce less haemoglobin or haemoglobin that are less efficient in carrying oxygen. Their red blood cells tend to get destroyed faster too.
When that happens, they do not have enough haemoglobin or red blood cells (anaemia) to carry oxygen around in their body, and they may appear pale and feel fatigued.
The type of thalassemia one has depends on the defective gene a person inherits. The two major types of thalassaemia are alpha and beta thalassemia, but some people can have delta thalassemia as well.
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