Difference between Sickle Cell Anemia and Thalassemia

What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle-cell anaemia is a type of autosomal recessive genetic disorder, which is caused by the presence of a mutated form of haemoglobin, haemoglobin S (HbS). Sickle cell disease (SCD) causes significant morbidity and mortality and is mainly caused when the glutamic acid of haemoglobin molecules is replaced by valine.

According to Mendelian genetics, sickle-cell anaemia is an autosomal recessive disorder that can be caused by any of the following factors:

  • Autosomal dominant
  • Autosomal recessive
  • Sex-linked dominant
  • Sex-linked recessive

Sickle-cell anaemia is also called Mendelian disorder. In these conditions, the oxygen-binding capacity of the haemoglobin molecules is reduced and the mutant haemoglobin molecule undergoes changes in its shape from the biconcave shape into the sickle shape.

Explore more: Genetic Disorders

What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder in which the body produces an abnormal amount of haemoglobin. This condition results in the destruction of a large number of red blood cells, which leads to anaemia. It is an X-linked recessive disease, which is transferred by one of the parents who is a carrier of this disease.

Explore more: Thalassemia

Let’s learn the differences between sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

Sickle Cell Anemia and Thalassemia – Comparisons

Sickle Cell Anemia



An inherited red blood cell disorder, which is caused by the deficiency of healthy red blood cells to circulate oxygen throughout the body.

An inherited disorder, which is caused by the drop in the haemoglobin level, which enables red blood cells to circulate oxygen throughout the body.


Mutation on chromosome 11

Mutations in the DNA of cells



Delay in growth.

Episodes of pain.

Vision problems.

Swelling of hands and feet.

More prone to infections.

Show all the symptoms of anemia.

The signs and symptoms depend on the type and severity. General symptoms include:


Retard growth.

Abdominal swelling.

Dark coloured urine.

Pale or yellowish skin.

Facial bone deformities.



Sickling test.

DNA sequencing.

Mass spectrometry.

Isoelectric focusing.

Haemoglobin electrophoresis.

DNA analysis.

Amniocentesis and other Prenatal testings.

Blood tests to check the size, shape and colour of the red blood cells.


There is no cure for sickle cell anemia.

Medications and other treatments are given to relieve pain and help prevent complications associated with the disease.

Stem cell transplant.

Intake of Irons supplements.

Life long blood transfusions.

Hyper‐transfuse to suppress erythropoiesis.




Pulmonary hypertension.

Pregnancy complications.

Damage to nerves and other organs.

Can cause anemia and in some rare conditions, resulting in bone deformities and heart problems.

Also Refer: Differences Between Turner Syndrome and Klinefelter Syndrome.

This article concludes the introduction to sickle cell anemia and thalassemia and their differences.

Stay tuned to BYJU’S Biology to learn more in detail about the different types of infectious diseases, along with their causes, symptoms, and their treatments.

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