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What are some of the complications of thalassemia-related anemia?

Some of the complications of thalassemia-related anemia occur because the body tries to fix the problem, but actually makes things worse. Following are some of the complications of thalassemia-related anemia:

  • New red blood cells (RBCs) are made double time. This makes the bone marrow grow bigger. This changes the shape of the bones and makes them weaker.
  • The RBCs head out into the bloodstream when they’re still too young. This means the RBCs in the bloodstream are smaller than they should be. The spleen thinks the small RBCs are unhealthy and starts pulling them out.
  • The spleen works so hard that it gets bigger too. The spleen might be seen or felt from outside the body. This is called splenomegaly.
  • With more RBCs, there is extra hemoglobin. The extra hemoglobin needs recycling too, and it all goes to the bloodstream.
  • There are many other extra blood products that get stuck in different places. They build up in the skin and the whites of the eyes, which makes them yellow. This is called jaundice. They also get stuck in the gallbladder and cause gallstones, which can really hurt.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.