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What are the different types of thalassemia?

The different types of thalassemia depend on the mistakes in the instructions (genes) that tell the red blood cells (RBCs) how to make hemoglobin. If there’s a mistake in only one copy of the genes, the RBCs can figure out which copy to use and ignore the one with the mistake. This means that a person with a mistake in one copy of the genes is a carrier for thalassemia, but doesn't usually have many of the problems. It’s called thalassemia minor. If both the copies have the mistake, it’s called thalassemia major or thalassemia intermedia. With thalassemia intermedia, people might have bad anemia, or they might not notice anything at all. In thalassemia major, the RBCs can’t make normal hemoglobin at all.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.