Alpha Thalassemia - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of alpha thalassemia?

In people with the characteristic features of alpha thalassemia, a reduction in the amount of normal hemoglobin prevents enough oxygen from reaching the body's tissues. Affected individuals also have a shortage of red blood cells (anemia), which can cause pale skin, weakness, fatigue, and more serious complications.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Greg, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: April 11

I have been tired all of my life and have always been told I was out of shape. My family has a history of being anemic and since childhood and I have always taken iron just like most of my family. I did a search of "blood disorders that affect blacks" I came across alpha thalassemia and asked my medical team about being tested and the results were positive for alpha thalassemia trait/minor. The iron was immediately stopped and the congestive heart failure (CHF) has gotten better. I have always gotten blood transfusions over the years. My family also has sickle cell. My hemoglobin is checked now so that I can get transfusions when needed. I also have been cautioned about not getting enough blood to bring my levels up to normal ranges because that might be fatal. I am 57 years old and a gene from both chromosomes are missing and I don"t produce enough blood. My daughter has been anemic for most of her life and now my granddaughter is having the same problem at 5 years old. I"m still learning since my diagnosis was only 3 months ago.

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Comment from: PKumai, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 19

I found out I had alpha thalassemia trait when I was 21. My mom and sister got tested too, and they both have it. We are of Northern/Eastern European descent, so this was very surprising. The only reason my doctor at the time could explain it to me was because she had spent several years working in Hong Kong and saw a large number of cases. Growing up, I thought I was really sick because I was so tired all the time. I couldn't concentrate, I couldn't maintain enough long term stamina for any exercise program, etc. No doctor has ever been able to tell me why I feel this way, because according to them, I should have no symptoms. Out of frustration and desperation, I've changed my diet dramatically (vegetarian and no sugar) and maintained a very strict sleep pattern. I've seen improvements in my ability to concentrate, and I exercise regularly (admittedly, that is still a struggle). It's frustrating though, because I keep looking for other people who have symptoms that match mine, people who have experienced the same degree of fatigue that I have. With this condition, everyone's experiences seem to be different.

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