Hemoglobin C disease
Clinical hemoglobin C
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.
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.
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
A physical exam may show an enlarged spleen.
Tests that may be done include:
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.
People with hemoglobin C disease can expect to lead a normal life.
Complications may include:
- Gallbladder disease
- Enlargement of the spleen
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms of hemoglobin C disease.
You may want to seek genetic counseling if you are at high risk for the condition and are considering having a baby.
Howard J. Sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 154.
Smith-Whitley K, Kwiatkowski JL. Hemoglobinopathies. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 489.
So JCC, Ma ESK. Hemoglobin and hemoglobinopathies. In: Rifai N, Chiu RWK, Young I, Burnham CAD, Wittwer CT, eds. Tietz Textbook of Laboratory Medicine. 7th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2023:chap 77.
Wilson CS, Vergara-Lluri ME, Brynes RK. Evaluation of anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia. In: Jaffe ES, Arber DA, Campo E, Harris NL, Quintanilla-Martinez L, eds. Hematopathology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 11.
Last reviewed on: 1/25/2022
Reviewed by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.