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A 44-year-old member asked:

What is the alpha thalassemia trait?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Inherited defect: Our regular hemoglobin is composed of Alpha and beta chains that come together to form working hemaglobin. Alpha thalassemia trait occurs when a person inherits a defective Alpha chain gene from one parent & a normal Alpha chain gene from the other. This causes some reduction in Alpha chain production with resulting mild anemia.

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A 50-year-old member asked:

Is alpha thalassemia trait the same thing as alpha thalassemia?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Not quite: Normal people have 4 Alpha globulin genes. Mutations in 1, 2, 3, or all 4 of the genes cause the 4 levels of Alpha thalassemia. One mutation = silent carrier (no symptoms), 2 mutat. = Alpha trait (mild anemia), 3 mutat. = HGB h disease (anemia sometimes needing transfusions), 4 mutat. = bart's disease (fatal before birth in almost all cases; lifelong transfusions needed to survive if born alive).
A 40-year-old member asked:

What to do about alpha thalassemia trait (minor) with asthama?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Nothing: Alpha thal minor is uttery trivial. Manage your asthma and if you choose to marry, be aware of your alpha-thal and the risk that marrying someone else with the same condition puts your children at risk.
A 36-year-old member asked:

Can I donate blood if I have alpha thalassemia trait?

4 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Yes, but unlikely: A person with Alpha thalassemia trait may be not anemic or mildly anemic. If he is not anemic, he can be a blood donor. However, since he has a more difficult time making hemoglobin (to make new red blood cells), he may not wish to be a blood donor.

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Last updated Jun 24, 2014

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