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A 45-year-old member asked:

What is the main difference between thalassemia and sickle cell anemia?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. EMILIA MATOS
General Practice 44 years experience
SICKLE CELL AFFECTS : With sickle cell the spleen can be destroyed by the crisis episodes.
Dr. James Ball
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology 19 years experience
See below.: Sickle cell produces an abnormal hemoglobin that sickles in various circumstances (like fever or cold weather). Bea-thalassemia produces decreased amounts of hemoglobin, causing an abnormal arrangement of hemoglobin within the red cell. Both can have variable disease severity.

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Pflugerville, TX
A 32-year-old male asked:

I have a hemoglobinopathy (not sickle cell or thalassemia). At what point is medication considered for my anemia?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Pearson-Martinez
Pediatric Cardiology 20 years experience
Symptoms or severe: Depends on specific etiology, as treatments may vary significantly. Generally aggressive tx like transfusions are avoided except in emergencies, but other tx will be considered if there are sxs (like dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath) or if the blood level is low enough to cause other issues (e.g., high-output heart failure). Diet may be important as well in minimizing or avoiding meds.
CA
A 38-year-old member asked:

Do beta thalassemia and sickle cell anemia always reduce life expectancy?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Not if just 1 trait: Having either beta thalassemia trait or sickle cell trait is a mild condition and should not cause symptoms to the point of making a person frequently ill nor shortening life expectancy. Having beta thalassemia major or sickle cell disease, or both sickle cell trait and beta thalassemia trait, usually causes severe enough chronic disease symptoms to shorten lifespan an uncertain amount.

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Last updated Jul 29, 2014
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