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    Hemoglobin C disease

    Clinical hemoglobin C

    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.

    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 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. Occasionally, jaundice may occur. Some persons with this disease may develop gallstones that require treatment.

    Exams and Tests

    Physical examination may show an enlarged spleen.

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Complete blood count
    • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
    • Peripheral blood smear
    • Blood hemoglobin

    Treatment

    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)

    People with hemoglobin C disease can expect to lead a normal life.

    Possible Complications

    Complications include anemia, gall bladder 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

    Genetic counseling may be appropriate for high-risk couples who wish to have a baby.

    References

    Steinberg MH. Sickle cell disease and associated hemoglobinopathies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 166.

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            Tests for Hemoglobin C disease

            Review Date: 2/8/2012

            Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Palm Beach Cancer Institute, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network; Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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