Hemoglobin C disease
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.
Clinical hemoglobin C
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.
Exams and Tests
Physical examination may show an enlarged spleen.
Tests that may be done include:
Usually no treatment is needed. Folic acid supplementation may help your body produce normal red blood cells and improve the symptoms of the anemia.
People with hemoglobin C disease can expect to lead a normal life.
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.
Genetic counseling may be appropriate for high-risk couples who wish to have a baby.
Steinberg MH. Sickle cell disease and associated hemoglobinopathies. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 167.
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.