Alpha Thalassemia Facts*
*Alpha thalassemia facts medical author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
- Alpha thalassemia is a blood disorder that reduces the production of normal hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body.
- There are four types of alpha thalassemia, hemoglobin Bart hydrops fetalis syndrome or Hb Bart syndrome (the more severe form), HbH disease, silent carrier state and trait.
- Alpha thalassemia occurs frequently in people from Mediterranean countries, North Africa, the Middle East, India, and Central Asia.
- Alpha thalassemia typically results from deletions involving the HBA1 and HBA2 genes.
- People who have alpha thalassemia trait can have mild anemia. However, many people with this type of thalassemia have no signs or symptoms.
- Treatments for thalassemias depend on the type and severity of the disorder.
What is alpha thalassemia?
Alpha thalassemia is a blood disorder that reduces the production of normal hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body.
What are the symptoms of alpha thalassemia?
In people with the characteristic features of alpha thalassemia, a reduction in the amount of normal hemoglobin prevents enough oxygen from reaching the body's tissues. Affected individuals also have a shortage of red blood cells (anemia), which can cause pale skin, weakness, fatigue, and more serious complications.
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