Alpha-Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that impairs the body's ability to produce hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
There are multiple forms of Alpha-Thalassemia ranging from mild to very severe or fatal, depending on the location and nature of the gene mutations.
The form of Alpha Thalassemia known as Hemoglobin H disease causes moderate to severe anemia. Symptoms may also include susceptibility to infection, enlarged spleen, and bone deformities.
Children born with the most severe form, Alpha-Thalassemia major, usually die before birth or in infancy.
Treatment may include blood transfusions and medication to prevent toxic buildup of iron in the body.
Alpha-Thalassemia is more commonly found in people from Southeast Asia and Southern China, Africa, the Middle East, and India.
For more information on Alpha-Thalassemia, see Thallasemia.org.