Thalassemia is a group of inherited blood disorders that can be passed from parents to their children and affect the amount and type of hemoglobin the body produces.
Hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb) is a substance present in all red blood cells (RBCs). It is important for proper red blood cell function because it carries the oxygen that RBCs deliver around the body. One portion of hemoglobin called heme is the molecule with iron at the center. Another portion is made of up four protein chains called globins. Each of the four globin chains holds a heme group containing one iron atom. Depending on their structure, the globin chains are designated as alpha, beta, gamma, or delta.
Not all hemoglobin is the same. Different types of hemoglobin are classified according to the type of globin chains they contain. The type of globin chains present is important in hemoglobin's ability to transport oxygen.
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