Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates, visitor restrictions and resources →

Hemoglobin C disease

  • Definition
    • Hemoglobin C disease is a blood disorder passed down through families. It leads to a type of anemia, which occurs when red blood cells break down earlier than normal.

  • Alternative Names
    • Clinical hemoglobin C

  • Causes
    • Hemoglobin C is an abnormal type of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. It is a type of hemoglobinopathy. The disease is caused by a problem with a gene called beta globin.

      The disease most often occurs in African Americans. You are more likely to have hemoglobin C disease if someone in your family has had it.

  • Symptoms
    • Most people do not have symptoms. In some cases, jaundice may occur. Some people may develop gallstones that need to be treated.

  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment
    • In most cases, no treatment is needed. Folic acid supplements may help your body produce normal red blood cells and improve the symptoms of the anemia.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • People with hemoglobin C disease can expect to lead a normal life.

  • Possible Complications
    • Complications may include:

      • Anemia
      • Ggallbladder disease
      • Enlargement of the spleen
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of hemoglobin C disease.

  • Prevention
    • You may want to seek genetic counseling if you are at high risk for the condition and are considering having a baby.

  • References
    • DeBaun MR, Frei-Jones MJ, Vichinsky. Hemoglobinopathies. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 462.

      Steinberg MH. Sickle cell disease and associated hemoglobinopathies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 163.