What does it mean to carry beta thalassaemia?

Beta thalassaemia is one of many possible variations in the blood called haemoglobin gene variants, or haemoglobin variants.

Haemoglobin is what makes blood red. It is packed into red blood cells. Carriers of thalassaemia have smaller red blood cells, but more of them, than other people.

A carrier will always be a carrier, and no-one can catch it from them. They inherited beta thalassaemia from one of their parents, and could pass it on to their children.

Anyone can carry beta thalassaemia. It is common in the Mediterranean area, the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent and South and South-East Asia. It also occurs among West Africans and African-Caribbeans. It occurs occasionally among North Europeans.

A carrier of beta thalassaemia is a healthy person.

Carrying beta thalassaemia does not weaken them physically or mentally.

They do not need any medical treatment because they carry beta thalassaemia.