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α-thalassemia: What every Bone Marrow Transplant specialist wants you to know
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α-thalassemia: What every Bone Marrow Transplant specialist wants you to know

Have you ever heard about alpha thalassemia? It is an inherited blood disorder that affects 12.9 per cent of the population in our country. It is marked by the inability of the body to produce enough alpha globin, which is extremely crucial for the production of haemoglobin. So, in simple words, alpha thalassemia is a condition marked by a fall in the levels of haemoglobin.

Now, this can affect your body in a variety of different ways. Haemoglobin is an essential protein that is found in the blood. It is loaded with iron and serves as a transport medium for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body. It is also responsible for carrying carbon dioxide, from these parts, back into the lungs. As per the experts from the best hospital in Gurgaon, when your haemoglobin levels are lower than normal, as, in the case of patients with alpha thalassemia, the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide will get hampered drastically.

Getting familiar with various types of Thalassemia

Alpha thalassemia is broadly classified into 4 different types, primarily depending upon the severity of the symptoms. Let’s try to understand these with the help of doctors specializing in bone marrow transplants in Gurgaon.

  • Alpha thalassemia carrier - This is the initial stage in which the patient is just a carrier. Many patients are asymptomatic and do not require any special treatment. Lack of proper signs and symptoms often leads to delay in diagnosis.
  • Alpha thalassemia trait - This is also referred to as alpha thalassemia minor, a slightly advanced stage of alpha thalassemia, which is characterized by very mild anaemia and unnoticeable symptoms. The patients may or may not need medical intervention.
  • Haemoglobin H disease - It is a type of alpha thalassemia in which the patient experiences symptoms ranging from moderate to severe. Some patients might need blood transfusions on a regular basis, while others need them less frequently. This helps to make up for the replenished levels of haemoglobin.
  • Alpha thalassemia major - It is also known as hydrops fetalis, a condition marked by serious anaemia that can lead to life-threatening complications. Babies born with the condition need frequent blood transfusions in order to survive.

Watching out for the symptoms

It is pertinent to note that patients suffering from Alpha thalassemia carrier and Alpha thalassemia trait experience very mild to no symptoms at all. As far as the symptoms of Haemoglobin H disease and Alpha thalassemia major, are concerned, these include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Paling of skin
  • Faster heart pace
  • Breathlessness
  • Irritability
  • Stunted growth
  • Abnormalities in musculoskeletal structure

Patients suffering from Haemoglobin H disease and Alpha thalassemia major tend to have an increased load of iron in their bodies, which can prove to be extremely dangerous for other vital organs, such as the heart and liver.

Understanding the underlying cause of Alpha thalassemia

Experts from the best hospital in Gurgaon suggest that Alpha Thalassemia is the result of a genetic change or mutation that drastically impacts the production of Alpha globin, leading to its deficiency in your body. Alpha Globins along with Beta Globins make up haemoglobin. If the production of any of these is hampered, it is likely to affect the production of haemoglobin as well. This is exactly what happens in the case of Alpha thalassemia.

  • If a person has just one Alpha Thalassemia mutation, he is an Alpha Thalassemia carrier
  • If a person has two Alpha thalassemia mutations, he is said to have Alpha Thalassemia trait
  • If a person inherits 3 Alpha thalassemia mutations, he is said to have haemoglobin H disease
  • Patience with 4 inherited Alpha thalassemia mutations are said to have Alpha Thalassemia major

To know more about the condition, you can consult the best doctors in Gurgaon today.

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