Difference Between Thalassemia Minor and Thalassemia Major
Thalassemia meaning “Sea of Blood” is a genetic disorder that originated in the Mediterranean region. It is caused by mutated genes that are responsible for synthesis of hemoglobin in our blood stream. This results in severe anemia and the patient needs a transfusion of fresh packed RBCs on a regular basis. Thalassemia major refers to the person with the disease while thalassemia minor is a person carrying the mutant hemoglobin gene, and does not suffer from the disease.
What is Thalassemia Major?
Thalassemia major is the condition of a child with the disease and he depends on blood transfusion for survival. There are two genes that are responsible for the formation of hemoglobin and even one correct gene can synthesize hemoglobin. In thalassemia major, none of the two genes are able to make hemoglobin and the person survives on RBC transfusion. RBCs have short life this is why a person with thalassemia major needs RBCs to be transfused regularly to maintain the hemoglobin level at level which is mandatory for good health.
What is Thalassemia Minor?
The Thalassemia minor is used for those with one mutated hemoglobin gene but the other is completely healthy. In this case hemoglobin is synthesized in sufficient quantity, but slightly to lesser than a person whose genes of hemoglobin are in good health. We call such people as ‘carriers’ as they carry the trait for thalassemia, but are otherwise healthy. If the husband and wife both are patients of Thalassemia minors then there are 25% chances passing that to their child genetically and cause thalassemia major and there are 50% chances of getting thalassemia minor. The status of minor Thalassemia is very important to know if anyone in the family has thalassemia major because it can prevent the birth of a child with thalassemia major.