Heart & Blood Conditions

Expert reports about Heart & Blood Conditions


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE MILD TO MODERATE FORMS OF ALPHA THALASSEMIA WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is alpha thalassemia?

Thalassemia is a genetic condition involving the hemoglobin in red blood cells that results in anemia, which is inadequate numbers of red blood cells (RBCs), or red blood cells that are under-sized. People with alpha thalassemia have a problem making adequate amounts of what is called alpha globin. Usually, this is because they are missing some of the four genes that normally encode alpha globin, which is one of two types of protein chains that comprise the adult form of hemoglobin. Alpha thalassemia can develop as a very difficult-to-manage condition called alpha thalassemia intermedia, also called hemoglobin-H disease, resulting from three of the four genes being missing. (There is also a form of alpha thalassemia called alpha thalassemia major, resulting from all four genes being missing, but this disease is fatal at birth, if not prior to birth, so it does not coexist with pregnancy).


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