Clinical Types of Thalassemia

Thalassemia has three clinical types

  1. Thalassemia Minor (Mild Anaemia)
  2. Thalassemia Intermedia (Mild to Moderate Anaemia)
  3. Thalassemia Major (Severe Anaemia)

Beta Thalassemia Minor

  • Thalassemia minor occurs when a child receives the defected gene from only one parent.
  • It is clinically insignificant with usually no symptoms. The haemoglobin level may be slightly low (mild anaemia) than people of their age or sex.
  • It  requires no treatment
  • The marriage of two partners having Thalassemia Minor can lead to birth of children with Thalassemia Major.
  • A child born with Thalassemia minor shall have it for the whole of his life.

Beta Thalassemia Major

  • Thalassemia major, also called Cooley’s anaemia, is a severe form of anaemia in which RBCs are rapidly destroyed. The iron is deposited in the skin and vital organs of the body.
  • Thalassemia major occurs when a child inherits Thalassemia genes from both of his parents.
  • When two individuals with Thalassemia minor marry, there is a 25% chance in each pregnancy that the child can have Thalassemia major.  

Thalassemia major is a serious blood disorder, in which patient’s life depends on regular blood transfusions and costly daily medication. It causes significant morbidity to the patient and psychological and financial burden on the affected families.

Symptoms of Thalassemia Major

  • Progressive pallor
  • Failure to thrive
  • Poor growth
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  1. A new born baby with Thalassemia Major appears normal at birth.
  2. As they grow, an infant with Thalassemia Major starts getting pale as early as 6 months of age.
  3. The abdomen may swell due to an enlarged liver and spleen.
  4. Changes occur in the appearance of face and head. 

Beta Thalassemia Intermedia:

As the name says, is intermediate in severity between Thalassemia Minor and Major, with somewhat milder clinical presentation but ultimate transfusion dependency.