Also known as: alpha-thalassemia, beta-thalassemia.

Thalassemia is a blood disorder in which the body produces hemoglobin that doesn’t function properly.

Hemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. Most of the protein is in red blood cells and it gives the cells and the blood, its red color. In thalassemia, the abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to be deformed so they are destroyed easily. This process is called hemolysis and leads to anemia because of poor production and increased cell destruction.

Reviewed by: Kamar Godder, MD

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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