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Who Is at Risk for Thalassemias?

Family history and ancestry are the two risk factors for thalassemias.

Family History

Thalassemias are inherited—that is, the genes for the disorders are passed from parents to their children. If your parents have missing or altered hemoglobin-making genes, you may have thalassemia.


Thalassemias occur most often among people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Southern Asian, and African descent.

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Last Updated: July 3, 2012