Thalassaemia is a group of inherited blood disorders that are found in many countries around the world, and in particular in people of Mediterranean, North African, Middle-Eastern, South Asian, South East Asian, but are also though rarely, found in the Northern European population.
Thalassaemia is based on the changes in the production of either the alpha or beta chains that make up haemoglobin. Thalassaemia affects the production of normal haemoglobin and the increased breakdown of red blood cells associated with anaemia.
There are many forms of Thalassaemia, among which Beta-Thalassaemia Major is the commonest. It is a life threatening condition. Children who are born with Beta Thalassaemia Major can not make enough haemoglobin in their blood. As a result they become severely anaemic and need blood transfusions every 4 weeks and regular injections for life.