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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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Thalassemias Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Thalassemias, visit

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July 03, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.