Facts About Hemoglobin C

Hemoglobin is found in the red blood cells of all people. It gives blood its red color and carries oxygen to all parts of the body.

  • Hemoglobin C is an abnormal form of the normal Hemoglobin A. About 1 in 40 African-Americans has hemoglobin C trait. It is also found among persons from Africa, Greece, Italy and the Caribbean.
  • Hemoglobin C can be inherited from one or both parents. An individual who inherits hemoglobin C from one parent and normal hemoglobin (A) from the other parent has hemoglobin C trait (AC).
  • Hemoglobin C trait (AC) is not a disease. It does not cause health or medical problems. Individuals with this trait are usually healthy.
  • An individual who inherits two hemoglobin C genes (one from each parent) has Hemoglobin C disorder (CC).
  • Hemoglobin C disorder can cause mild anemia and sometimes jaundice (yellow color in the eyes and skin). There is also a small increased risk of developing gallstones.
  • Individuals who inherit hemoglobin C from one parent and hemoglobin S (sickle hemoglobin) from the other parent have Sickle C disorder (SC).
  • Sickle C disorder is a chronic illness. It is usually milder than sickle cell anemia (SS) but it can cause the same types of problems like joint pains, anemia and infections.
  • About 1 out of 1,000 African-Americans has Sickle C disorder.
  • If one parent has hemoglobin C trait and the other parent has hemoglobin S trait there is a 25% chance for each pregnancy of having a child with sickle C disorder.
  • Knowing his or her trait status is important for each individual. You will not know if you have hemoglobin C trait unless you have a special blood test called hemoglobin electrophoresis.