Symptoms most often begin within 3-6 months of birth. Symptoms may include:
- Anemia, which may be mild, moderate, or severe
- Enlarged spleen
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Reduced appetite
Enlarged and fragile bones, including:
- Thickening and roughening of facial bones
- Bones that break easily
- Teeth that don't line up properly
- Growth problems
- Increased susceptibility to infection
- Skin paler than usual
Hormone problems such as:
- Delayed or absent puberty
- Thyroid problems
- Heart failure
- Shortness of breath
- Liver problems
This form usually causes milder forms of the disease. It has with varying degrees of anemia.
This form can be asymptomatic or be a mild form of disease. The mild form is known as thalassemia intermedia. This form rarely needs extensive medical care.
Beta Thalassemia Major (Cooley's Anemia)
This version usually has symptoms within the first two years of life. Children are pale and listless. They often have poor appetites. They grow slowly and often develop jaundice (yellowing of skin). It is a serious disease. It requires regular blood transfusions and extensive medical care.
Without treatment, the spleen, liver, and heart soon become very enlarged. Bones become thin and brittle. Abnormal deposits of iron in body organs can lead to organ failure. This is called secondary hemochromatosis . It most often affects the heart, liver, and pancreas. Heart failure and infection are the leading causes of death among children with untreated thalassemia major.
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