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Thalassemia

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Definition

Thalassemia is an blood disorder passed down through families (inherited) in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells and anemia.

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Symptoms

The most severe form of alpha thalassemia major causes stillbirth (death of the unborn baby during birth of the late stages of pregnancy).

Children born with thalessemia major (Cooley's anemia)are normal at birth, but develop severe anemia during the first year of life.

Other symptoms can include:

Persons with the minors form of alpha and beta thalassemia have small red blood cells (that can be seen under a microscope), but no symptoms.

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