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Thalassemia

Also called: Cooley's anemia, Mediterranean anemia

Summary

Thalassemias are inherited blood disorders. If you have one, your body makes fewer healthy red blood cells and less hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen to the body. That leads to anemia. Thalassemias occur most often among people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Southern Asian, and African descent.

Thalassemias can be mild or severe. Some people have no symptoms or mild anemia. The most common severe type in the United States is called Cooley's anemia. It usually appears during the first two years of life. People with it may have severe anemia, slowed growth and delayed puberty, and problems with the spleen, liver, heart, or bones.

Doctors diagnose thalassemias using blood tests. Treatments include blood transfusions and treatment to remove excess iron from the body. If you have mild symptoms or no symptoms, you may not need treatment. In some severe cases, you may need a bone marrow transplant.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Human Genome Research Institute)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Living With

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Northern California Comprehensive Thalassemia Center)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Related Issues

  • (Cooley's Anemia Foundation) - PDF

Specifics

  • (Cooley's Anemia Foundation)
  • (Cooley's Anemia Foundation) - PDF
  • (Cooley's Anemia Foundation) - PDF

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • (Cooley's Anemia Foundation) - PDF

Videos and Tutorials

  • (Dolan DNA Learning Center)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in
  • (Nemours Foundation) Also in

Patient Handouts

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