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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 a 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. In some cases, jaundice may occur. Some people may develop gallstones that need to be treated.

 

Exams and Tests

 

A physical exam may show an enlarged spleen.

Tests that may be done include:

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

 

Treatment

 

In most cases, no treatment is needed. Folic acid supplements 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 may include:

  • Anemia
  • Ggallbladder disease
  • Enlargement of the spleen

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of hemoglobin C disease.

 

Prevention

 

You may want to seek genetic counseling if you are at high risk for the condition and are considering having a baby.

 

 

References

DeBaun MR, Frei-Jones MJ, Vichinsky. Hemoglobinopathies. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 462.

Steinberg MH. Sickle cell disease and associated hemoglobinopathies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 163.

 
  • Blood cells

    Blood cells - illustration

    Blood is comprised of red blood cells, platelets, and various white blood cells.

    Blood cells

    illustration

    • Blood cells

      Blood cells - illustration

      Blood is comprised of red blood cells, platelets, and various white blood cells.

      Blood cells

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Hemoglobin C disease

           

           

          Review Date: 2/1/2016

          Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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