In children with Beta Thalassemia Major, they appear healthy for the first few months of their life.  But as the oxygen deprevation sets in from a lack of healthy red cells, they grow easily tired, listless, fussy and pale.  These symptoms continue into adulthood.

Many complications come with Beta Thalassemia Major if not treated early.  The shortage of oxygen causes the heart to work harder to pump more red cells to the tissues of the body.  Overwork enlarges and strains the heart, and can cause heart failure that is fatal for many children who suffer from this condition.

Also the bone marrow, where new red blood cells are produced to replace those which are destroyed daily, becomes overworked and enlarges to cope with the deficiency.  The marrow takes up more and more bone space, causing the bone walls to become thin and brittle.  This can lead to a distortion of the bones of the face, which is common in patients with lack of adequate care.