If you are diagnosed with thalassemia, it means your body has a problem producing hemoglobin, a protein which is responsible for carrying oxygen through your body.
When your blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body, you can suffer from anemia.
Thalassemia is a general name given to a group of inherited blood disorders, which mainly involve abnormalities of hemoglobin.
It can cause ineffective production of red blood cells and destroy them. As a result, people with thalassemia often have a reduced number of red blood cells in their bloodstream.
Actually there are two types of abnormalities of hemoglobin, alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia. Depending on the type of thalassemia, different people experience different kinds of health problems. Some experience mild anemia with very few or no effects, while other individuals require frequent and intense medical treatment.
Is thalassemia contagious?
Absolutely not! Rather, it is an inherited disease, which means it will be easily passed on from parents to children through the genes. When both parents carry an alpha thalassemia gene, their children are at increased risk of developing a serious form of the disease.
When both parents have beta thalassemia, there is a 25% chance that their child will have inherited abnormalities in hemoglobin. There is even a chance that the child may not inherit the abnormal genes from their parents.
How does it affect pregnancy in woman?
If both parents have abnormal genes in their blood, the chances that your child may inherit the disease are as great as not inheriting it. Usually, women with milder abnormalities have healthy pregnancy. If you have beta thalassemia major, pregnancy is unlikely.
However, several studies show that pregnancy can be safe for women with major blood disorders, provided they are treated well. As long as your partner doesn’t carry any abnormal genes, you can give birth to a healthy child without any abnormalities of hemoglobin.
Abnormalities in red blood cells can be easily identified with a simple blood test. Newborn screening tests can help you to identify the abnormalities of hemoglobin in your child. In addition, prenatal testing using chorionic villus sampling can help you to detect thalassemia in your fetus.
Consider all these tests to identify the condition as early as possible and take necessary precautions to protect your child from undesired abnormalities.