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Types of Thalassemia

There are two main types of Thalassemia: alpha and beta. Beta thalassemia is the most common.

Alpha thalassemia is most common among natives of China and Southeast Asia. It can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or death shortly after birth.

Beta thalassemia, also called thalassemia major or Cooley’s anemia occurs most often in people of Greek or Italian descent. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder. That means that it is an inherited condition present from the moment of conception. It cannot be caught from another child nor can it develop later in life. The disease is passed on through parents who both carry the thalassemia gene in their own cells.

There is a 1 in 4 chance (25%) with each pregnancy, that the child will inherit the thalassemia gene from both parents and therefore have the disorder called beta thalassemia major.

There is a 2 in 4 chance (50%) chance with each pregnancy that the child will inherit the thalassemia gene from only one parent and a normal gene from the other and therefore be an unaffected carrier like the parents.

There is a 1 in 4 chance (25%) with each pregnancy that the child will inherit normal genes from both parents and therefore be completely unaffected

The Various Levels of Thalassemia

A) Thalassemia minor, where an individual is only a carrier of the gene and can lead a normal, productive and healthy long life; no transfusions are necessary.

B) Thalassemia intermediate, where a carrier may need a transfusion from time to time. This can be difficult because there is no established routine on how often a carrier should receive blood transfusions.

C) Thalassemia major, where an individual has inherited the thalassemia gene from both parents, therefore the body does not produce enough red blood cells to survive and consequently will need regular blood transfusions.

.Most children with thalassemia seem healthy for the first few months of their lives. In some children, the symptoms do not appear until the first or second birthday; others may even go as far as their fifth birthday before they show any symptoms.

Please see our Resources and Links for more detailed information on Thalassemia and the associations and foundations pioneering for a cure.

Isabella's Journey

Serafina Sammarco Author

Isabella's journey is a captivating story about one famiily's fight against the blood disorder thalassemia. Engage in a heartfelt journey told from a Mother's perspective after her daughter Isabella is diagnosed with the blood disorder thalessemia major. Isabella's Journey shares the hardships Isabella faces as she is challenged by her disorder and her struggle to survive...

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Calendar of Events

International Thalessemia Day