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Thalassemia

Thalassemia - What is it for

Haemoglobin is the component in red cells that is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Normal haemoglobin comprises of two α globin chains and two β globin chains, and each of these protein chains carry an iron-containing haem group which binds to oxygen.

Haemoglobinopathies are a group of inheritable conditions which affect the quantity and/or structure of the haemoglobin. The most common haemoglobinopathy in Singapore and Southeast Asia is thalassaemia. In each individual, there are four α genes (two inherited from each parent) and two β genes (one inherited from each parent). They signal the production of the α globin chains and β globin chains respectively in haemoglobin. Persons with thalassaemia mutations of the α globin genes (α thalassaemia) have reduced production of α globin chains and those with thalassaemia mutations of the β globin genes (β thalassaemia) have reduced production of β globin chains, resulting in decreased quantities of haemoglobin.  


Thalassemia - Preparing for surgery

Thalassemia - Post-surgery care

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