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Alternative Names Return to topClinical hemoglobin C
Definition Return to top
Hemoglobin C disease is a blood disorder passed down through families. It leads to a type of anemia, which causes red blood cells to break down earlier than normal.
Causes Return to top
Hemoglobin C is a problem with hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen. It is a type of hemoglobinopathy. The disease is caused by problem with a gene called beta globin.
The disease most often occurs in African Americans. You are more likely to develop hemoglobin C disease if someone in your family has had it.
Symptoms Return to top
Most people do not have symptoms. Occasionally, jaundice may occur. Some persons with this disease may develop gallstones that require treatment.
Exams and Tests Return to top
Physical examination reveals an enlarged spleen.
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment Return to top
Usually no treatment is needed. Folic acid supplementation may help your body produce normal red blood cells and improve the symptoms of the anemia.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
People with hemoglobin C disease can expect to lead a normal life.
Possible Complications Return to top
Complications include episodes of pain, hip problems, vision problems, and gallbladder disease.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of hemoglobin C disease.
Prevention Return to top
Genetic counseling may be appropriate for high-risk couples who wish to have a baby.
References Return to top
Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 23rd. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2007:1225-1226.Update Date: 11/14/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.