Thalassemia | Overview

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What is thalassemia?

Thalassemia (say: "thal-uh-SEE-mee-uh") is a name for a group of inherited blood disorders. When you have thalassemia, your body makes an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells. It carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Thalassemias can cause either a low number of red blood cells or not enough hemoglobin in the red blood cells. This can lead to mild or even severe anemia. Anemia interferes with your body’s ability to move oxygen from your lungs to all of your organs and limbs.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/11
Created: 11/09

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