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Hemoglobin C disease


Definition:

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.

Alternative Names:

Clinical hemoglobin C

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:

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.

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.


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.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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