It's genetic - inherited through my mother. Common in Mediterranean, Middle East, South East Asia, etc, areas where malaria is an issue.
I don't know much about it as I don't have the background to understand much of the materials on this but what I do know is as follows:
Beta-Thalessemia confers a certain degree of immunity to malaria - we may sometimes catch malaria but we are unlikely to get severe symptoms or die from it.
Interestingly while the people with healthy genes died of malaria in these regions, the thalassemics survived and passed on the trait.
My speculation is based on my LLMD telling me that Babesia is very much like malaria and is even treated with anti-malarials. That and noticing I was the only one without Babesia symptoms in the clinic.
I'd be very keen to know if anyone else has some form of Thalessemia and also has/ had Babesia.
I, fortunately, have the minor version of Beta-Thalessemia - which means I'm barely affected but I am a carrier and can pass it onto any children as well. I have anemia, abnormal hemoglobin and while I can take a low dose iron tablet - my understanding is that giving people such as me iron infusions and stuff like that does more harm than good.
People with the major version most often die, usually in childhood. I should never reproduce with another person with Thalessemia - high chance of a major child whose life will be short and/ or extremely miserable.