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Hemoglobin C disease
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Hemoglobin C disease

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Clinical hemoglobin C

Hemoglobin C disease is a blood disorder passed down through families. It leads to a type of anemia, which occurs when red blood cells break down earlier than normal.

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Causes

    Hemoglobin C is an abnormal type of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. It is a type of hemoglobinopathy. The disease is caused by a problem with a gene called beta globin.

    The disease most often occurs in African Americans. You are more likely to have hemoglobin C disease if someone in your family has had it.

  • Symptoms

    Most people do not have symptoms. In some cases, jaundice may occur. Some people may develop gallstones that need to be treated.

  • Exams and Tests

    A physical exam may show an enlarged spleen.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Complete blood count
    • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
    • Peripheral blood smear
    • Blood hemoglobin
  • Treatment

    Usually, no treatment is needed. Folic acid supplements may help your body produce normal red blood cells and improve the symptoms of the anemia.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    People with hemoglobin C disease can expect to lead a normal life.

  • Possible Complications

    Complications include anemia, gallbladder disease, and enlargement of the spleen.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of hemoglobin C disease.

  • Prevention

    You may want to seek genetic counseling if you are at high risk for the condition and are considering having a baby.

Related Information

  AnemiaHemoglobinopathy...Gallstones     AnemiaGallstones and gal...

References

Steinberg MH. Sickle cell disease and associated hemoglobinopathies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 166.

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Review Date: 2/24/2014  

Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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