ZocdocAnswersIs thalessemia a genetic disease?

Question

Is thalessemia a genetic disease?

Is this something I can get from another person?

Answer

Thalassemia is an inherited genetic condition and cannot be transmitted between two individuals, only parent to child. The genetic basis for thalassemia involves either a mutation or deletion in the DNA that is responsible for the production of different proteins (called globin chains) that make up hemoglobin, the molecule found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen. A normal hemoglobin molecule is comprised of two alpha chains and two beta chains. Thalassemia can cause loss of either the alpha or beta chains, and the specific mutation correlates with the degree of anemia experienced by the patient. The level of anemia dictates the need for transfusions and other therapy. While some mild forms cause no significant anemia, very severe forms can be life-threatening. If you have any questions about thalassemia, you can talk to your primary care physician, who can refer you to a hematologist for further questioning and investigation if needed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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