Is there a difference between microcytic anemia and beta-thalassemia?

Yes. Microcytic anemia means a person is anemic, and part of the reason is that his red blood cells are quite small. Beta thalassemia is just one of the causes of microcytic anemia. Microcytic anemia can also be caused by iron deficiency, Alpha thalassemia, etc...
Simple term issue. Microcytic = small cells. Anemia=low blood volume; there are many causes for microcytic anemia. Beta-thalassemia is a condition where only small cells are made.
Thalassemia. Thalassemia is a deficiency in the production of one of the globin chains (alpha or beta) that make up hemoglobin. Normally synthesis of these is balanced. When imbalanced, one globin accumulates relative to the ither forming inclusions that are damaging to the red cells that contain them. The rbcs of a pt with thalassemia are microcytic, but there's other causes of microcytosis. Fe deficiency #1.

Related Questions

Is it normal to have ice cravings with beta thalassemia anemia?

Maybe. Ice cravings has been reported as a symptom of iron deficiency anemia. Some people believe ice cravings also occur in other forms of anemia, such as thalassemia anemias. It is not known how many non-anemic persons have ice cravings, so it is unknown how likely it would be for a ice cravings to occur coincidentally with an anemia but not due to the anemia.

Do hb e/beta thalassemia anemia reduce life expectancy?

Not necessarily. Did you look at the website reference I sent? It is quite informative. You will be best served with a visit to a specialist to get all your questions answered. It is clear you are so worried about this, and it would be so much more reassuring to have a face to face visit with someone who can answer all your great questions.

Do beta thalassemia and sickle cell anemia always reduce life expectancy?

Not if just 1 trait. Having either beta thalassemia trait or sickle cell trait is a mild condition and should not cause symptoms to the point of making a person frequently ill nor shortening life expectancy. Having beta thalassemia major or sickle cell disease, or both sickle cell trait and beta thalassemia trait, usually causes severe enough chronic disease symptoms to shorten lifespan an uncertain amount.
Life expectancy. With clinically significant sickle syndromes or thalassemia syndromes is lower than for people without these afflictions, but are improving all the time. If you have trait for either condition, it should not have a measurable impact on your life expectancy.

Beta thalassemia anemia and ice cravings?

Maybe, maybe not. Ice cravings has been reported as a symptom of iron deficiency anemia. Some people believe ice cravings also occur in other forms of anemia, such as thalassemia anemias. It is not known how many non-anemic persons have ice cravings, so it is unknown how likely it would be for a ice cravings to occur coincidentally with an anemia but not due to the anemia.
A type of pica. Craving ice is a common symptom seen among patients with thalassemia, sickle cell disease, and other chronic anemias. Why this occurs is not fully understood.