What is thalassaemia?

When there are not enough healthy red blood cells, other cells in the body do not get enough oxygen, which can cause a person to feel tired, weak or short of breath. This condition is called anemia. People with thalassemia may have mild or severe anemia. Severe anemia can damage organs and lead to death.

Hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to all cells in the body, is made up of two different parts called alpha and beta. When thalassemia is called “alpha” or “beta”, it refers to the part of hemoglobin that is not being formed. If alpha or beta fractions are not produced, there are not enough building blocks to produce normal amounts of hemoglobin. Low alpha is called alpha thalassemia. Low beta is called beta thalassemia.

The lifespan of a red blood cell is 120 days on average but in this disease it comes down to about one third.

Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder caused by a weak or abnormal structure of hemoglobin which is the most integral part of the blood. Hemoglobin is mainly found in red blood cells and carries oxygen to various tissues and organs in the body. The thalassemic gene is passed from parents to children, both of whom may be carriers.

The disease is widespread in Bangladesh, especially some families carry the disease. So of course check before marriage. Need to know if anyone in the family is infected.