Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder that is handed down from parents to children. It impairs your body’s capacity to generate hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells. According to NHM, the number of children diagnosed with thalassemia ranges from 1-1.5lacs. Infact, there are several undetected ß (beta) thalassemia carriers in India. According to Economictimes, almost 10,000 children are born with thalassemia in India every year.
What are the different types of thalassemia?
There are generally two types of thalassemia based on the protein the blood lacks.
- Alpha thalassemia
- Beta thalassemia
According to the severity of the disease, thalassemia can be further divided into the following.
- Major thalassemia
- Minor thalassemia
What are the differences between the different types of thalassemia?
Thalassemia is a blood disorder, where the child inherits this certain condition from their parents. The body is unable to produce enough hemoglobin and RBC cells which finally results in anemia and sometimes fatigue. According to the severity and the protein the body lacks, thalassemia is categorized into 4 types.
Alpha thalassemia – This type of thalassemia can develop if any of the four genes known as the alpha-globin genes, which are responsible for the production of hemoglobin, are damaged or absent.
Beta thalassemia – This type of thalassemia can develop if the beta-globin genes, which are responsible for the production of hemoglobin, are damaged or absent.
Major thalassemia – The type of thalassemia in which both genes are altered in individuals ( inherited from both parents) is known as Major thalassemia. It is a severe form of thalassemia and can result in severe anemia and even death.
Minor thalassemia – The type of thalassemia in which only one gene is altered in individuals (inherited from one parent) is known as Minor thalassemia. People with minor thalassemia may not face severity but becomes carriers. It can be regarded as the mild version of major thalassemia.
Why is donating blood necessary?
Donating blood is considered quite novel and everyone should do it. It not only saves lives and most importantly you become a part of a humble cause. Blood is necessary for people struggling with anemia, traumatic injuries, surgeries and even certain chronic illnesses. The donated blood is stored in blood banks and utilized for these people. So yes, everyone should donate blood. You are actually saving someone’s life. But the main question that arises here is can you donate blood if you have thalassemia? especially in India where there are so many people diagnosed with thalassemia every year.
Can you donate blood if you have thalassemia?
Well, the clear answer to this question is yes, definitely you can donate blood if you have minor thalassemia and your hemoglobin level is above 12g/dl, but when it’s the major one, you will never be allowed for your own safety. Most blood banks will allow minor thalassemia patients to donate blood.
But the main problem is that most minor thalassemia patients’ hemoglobin level ranges between 10-11g/dl. This is the sole reason why most thalassemia patients are not allowed to donate blood. Even if you fall under the category of “Minor thalassemia”, blood banks won’t sometime allow you to donate blood because of your own safety and wellness.
But yes, if you are asking about the law, you can definitely donate blood if you possess minor thalassemia, if your hemoglobin level is above 12g/dl, if you have normal blood pressure, if you are not under any certain types of medications or you have any infections.
Certain tests are always conducted before blood donation to make it safe for both the donor as well as the recipient. Remember, thalassemia is not transmissible via transfusion, but for your safety, it is not advisable to donate blood if you even have minor thalassemia.