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What are some of the complications of thalassemia?

People with thalassemia experience complications because their red blood cells (RBCs) can't make hemoglobin properly. RBCs need hemoglobin to carry oxygen around the body. In thalassemia, there’s a mistake in the RBCs’ instructions, or genes, so they can’t make hemoglobin properly. This can cause anemia. Other complications may also include an enlarged spleen, gallstones, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Thalassemia also causes the body to grab extra iron out of food. Extra iron builds up and causes problems for the liver and heart. This is called iron overload and it’s very dangerous.

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