The key difference between hemochromatosis and thalassemia is that hemochromatosis occurs due to the buildup of too much iron in the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, pituitary gland, and joints, while thalassemia occurs due to the inability to produce hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells.
Genetic changes are exclusively responsible for causing inherited disorders. Genetic or inherited disorders usually pass down from one generation to another in either a dominant or recessive manner. Hemochromatosis and thalassemia are two inherited disorders. Both these conditions are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. In autosomal recessive inheritance, two copies of an abnormal gene should be present in order for the disease or trait to develop.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Hemochromatosis
3. What is Thalassemia
4. Similarities – Hemochromatosis and Thalassemia
5. Hemochromatosis vs. Thalassemia in Tabular Form
6. FAQ – Hemochromatosis and Thalassemia
7. Summary – Hemochromatosis vs. Thalassemia
What is Hemochromatosis?
Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disorder that causes the body to absorb excessive amounts of iron from the food individuals consume. This condition leads to the accumulation of excess iron in organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas. The typical symptoms of hemochromatosis may include joint pain, abdominal pain, fatigue, weakness, diabetes, loss of sex drive, impotence, heart failure, liver failure, gray skin color, and memory fog. Hemochromatosis is often caused by a mutation in a gene called HFE. The complications due to this disorder are liver problems, diabetes, heart problems, reproductive problems, and skin color changes.
Moreover, hemochromatosis can be diagnosed through physical examination, blood tests, liver function tests, genetic testing, and liver biopsy. Furthermore, treatment options for hemochromatosis may include blood removal, chelation, and lifestyle changes such as avoiding iron supplements and multivitamins containing iron, avoiding vitamin C supplements, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding eating raw fish and shellfish.
What is Thalassemia?
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects the ability of the body to produce hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells. The typical symptoms of thalassemia may include mild or severe anemia, fatigue, slow growth, trouble breathing, feeling cold, dizziness, and pale skin. Mutations in alpha and beta globin genes cause thalassemia. Complications that can occur due to thalassemia are bone deformities, enlarged spleen, slowed growth rates, and heart problems.
Moreover, thalassemia can be diagnosed through physical symptoms evaluation, chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis, and DNA analysis. Furthermore, thalassemia can be treated through frequent blood transfusion, chelation therapy, and stem cell transplantation.
What are the Similarities Between Hemochromatosis and Thalassemia?
- Hemochromatosis and thalassemia are two different inherited disorders.
- Excess iron buildup can be seen in both disorders.
- Both disorders result in complications.
- They can be diagnosed through physical examination and genetic testing.
- They can be treated through chelation therapy.
What is the Difference Between Hemochromatosis and Thalassemia?
Hemochromatosis is a disorder due to the buildup of too much iron in the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, pituitary gland, and joints, while thalassemia is a disorder due to the inability to produce hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells. Thus, this is the key difference between hemochromatosis and thalassemia. Furthermore, hemochromatosis is caused by a mutation in a gene called HFE, while thalassemia is caused by mutations in genes called alpha and beta globin genes.
The infographic below presents the differences between hemochromatosis and thalassemia in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
FAQ: Hemochromatosis and Thalassemia
What is another name for hemochromatosis?
Iron overload disorder is another name for hemochromatosis.
What is the best treatment for hemochromatosis?
The most common treatment is removal of blood in order to lower the amount of iron in the body.
Is iron low or high in thalassemia?
Thalassaemia is characterized by a normal or increased iron metabolism.
Summary – Hemochromatosis vs. Thalassemia
Hemochromatosis and thalassemia are two different inherited disorders. Hemochromatosis occurs due to the buildup of too much iron in the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, pituitary gland, and joints while thalassemia occurs due to the inability to produce hemoglobin and healthy red blood cells. So, this summarizes the difference between hemochromatosis and thalassemia.
1. “HemochromatosisSkin” By Herbert L. Fred, MDHendrik A. van Dijk – (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “B Thalassaemia Trait (Basophilic Stippling)” By Dr Erhabor Osaro – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia