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Can anemia be hereditary?

Yes, anemia may be genetic. Hereditary disorders create abnormal hemoglobin and can shorten the life span of the red blood cell and lead to anemia (for example, sickle cell anemia). Hereditary disorders can also cause anemia by impairing the production of normal hemoglobin (for example, alpha thalassemia and beta thalassemia).

Depending on the degree of the genetic abnormality, hereditary anemias may cause mild, moderate, or severe anemia. In fact, some may be too severe to be compatible with life and may result in death of the fetus (unborn infant). On the other hand, some of these anemias are so mild that they are not noticeable and are incidentally revealed during routine blood work.

Reviewed on 9/21/2017

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