alpha-thalassemia

noun
al·​pha-thal·​as·​se·​mia
variants: also α-thalassemia \ ˌal-​fə-​ˌtha-​lə-​ˈsē-​mē-​ə How to pronounce alpha-thalassemia (audio) \

Medical Definition of alpha-thalassemia

: thalassemia in which the hemoglobin chains designated alpha are affected

Note: The severity of alpha-thalassemia is directly related to the number of defects occurring in the four genes controlling synthesis of the alpha hemoglobin chain. Defects in one or two of the genes causes a condition that is asymptomatic or marked by mild anemia. Defects in three of the genes cause a condition marked by hemolytic anemia and enlargement of the spleen. Defects in all four genes is fatal and results in a fetus that is stillborn or critically ill with hydrops fetalis.

— compare beta-thalassemia

Learn More About alpha-thalassemia

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Cite this Entry

“Alpha-thalassemia.” Merriam-Webster.com Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/alpha-thalassemia. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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