Thalassemia is a group of inherited blood disorders that interfere
with the body's normal production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a substance that
red blood cells need in order to carry oxygen to body tissues.
Thalassemia is inherited, passed on through genes from parent to
Symptoms of the disease vary. Some people have no symptoms or very
mild symptoms, in which case they may not need treatment. Others develop
symptoms of anemia, such as weakness, fatigue, lightheadedness, and pale
People who have moderate to severe symptoms of anemia may require
treatment. Treatment depends on the severity of the thalassemia. Treatment can include folic acid supplements, medicine, blood transfusions, or stem cell transplants from blood or bone marrow. Very rare forms of
thalassemia may cause organ damage that can result in death.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
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