Using the Home Blood Spot Sampling Kit to screen for Alpha thalassemia is a simple and convenient way to know your status for this condition. Once you know your status, you will be able to discuss your results with a healthcare professional or your doctor, who will be able to offer information, further tests and appropriate treatment.
It is also important to know your status if you are planning to have children so that you have the opportunity to speak to your doctor and discuss any tests that you and your partner may need to know the likelihood of passing the condition on.
Alpha thalassemia is a genetic condition that belongs to a group of blood disorders known as haemoglobinopathies. Red blood cells are made up of a protein called haemoglobin, that transports oxygen from the lungs to all the tissues of the body. Structurally haemoglobin is a complex protein consisting of two alpha globins and two beta globins. Defects in how much of these two types of globins are produced disrupt the ratio within the complex and lead to a type of blood disease called thalassemia. This means that since there is a reduced production of haemoglobin, the body’s ability to transport oxygen (and remove carbon dioxide) is reduced.
The main effect is a condition called anaemia and increased tiredness, but there are some other more serious conditions that may arise, depending on the number and nature of the defective genes.