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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Asian Americans and genetic disorders

12/01/2000

Question:

Are there genetic disorders that affect primarily Asian Americans?

Answer:

The most common genetic disorders that affect Asian Americans are the thalassemias. These are a group of inherited blood diseases that result in either no hemoglogin or a reduced amount of normal hemoglobin being produced. Hemoglobin is produed in the bone marrow and is found in red blood cells. It carries the oxygen that is taken in by the lungs to different parts of the body.

There are two major types of thalaseemia - Alpha Thalassemia and Beta thalassemia. Changes in the genes that control globin production (a part of hemaglobin) lead to the disorders known as thalassemias.

You can find additional information about thalassemias - what they are, treatment, how they are inherited, etc - at the website below.

Related Resources:

Cooley's Anemia Foundation

For more information:

Go to the Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University