An inherited condition, thalassemia affects a person's ability to produce hemoglobin in red blood cells. As a result, a person with thalassemia is at risk for mild-to-severe anemia. How this condition is treated will depend on the type and severity. Some cases may require no treatment at all, but severe cases may require blood transfusions, iron chelation therapy, or bone marrow transplants.
Thalassemia occurs more frequently in people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Southern Asian, and African ancestry.
(To learn more about this particular cause of anemia, including a discussion on how some people are "silent carriers," click Thalassemia.)