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S, βeta-thalassemia

(S • BAY-tuh-thal-uh-SEE-mee-uh)

General Condition Information

Other Names

  • Beta thalassemia
  • Beta thalassemia major
  • Beta thalassemia; Sickle cell disease
  • Beta-thalassemia major
  • Hb S/Beta thalassemia
  • Hb S/beta-thalassemia
  • Hb S/β-thalassemia
  • Hemoglobin S-beta thalassemia
  • Hemoglobin S/β-thalassemia
  • Hemoglobinopathies Hb S/BTh
  • S Beta-thalassemia
  • S, Beta-thalassemia
  • S, β Thalassemia
  • S, β-thalassemia
  • S, βeta-Thalasemia (Hb S/βth)
  • S, βeta-thalassemia (Sickle beta thalassemia)
  • S-beta thalessemia
  • S. Beta-thalassemia
  • S/Beta thalassemia
  • S/Beta-thalassemia
  • Sickle beta plus thalassemia disease
  • Sickle beta thalassemia
  • Sickle beta-thalassemia
  • Sickle cell disease (Hemoglobin S beta thalassemia)
  • Sickle cell S beta thalassemia
  • Sickle βeta-plus thalassemia
  • Sickle-beta-thalassemia
  • Sickle/beta-thalassemia
  • Thalassemia

Condition Type

Birth Prevalence

  • Over a thousand babies are born with sickle cell conditions like S,beta thalassemia each year in the United States.
  • Sickle cell conditions are more common in African American and Hispanic American babies.
  • Visit GeneReviews to learn more about how often sickle cell conditions occur.

Screening Finding

Presence of only fetal hemoglobin (F) and sickling hemoglobin (S)

What is s, βeta-thalassemia

S, beta-thalassemia is an inherited (genetic) condition that affects the hemoglobin in blood. Hemoglobin is a part of your red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your body.

There are different types of S, beta-thalassemia. These types can be more or less severe depending on the amount of normal hemoglobin in your baby’s blood. The more normal hemoglobin that your baby has, the less severe their condition may be.

S, beta-thalassemia is a form of sickle cell disease. Babies with S, beta-thalassemia make less normal hemoglobin, which means they have fewer normal round red blood cells. Also, their bodies make some abnormal hemoglobin (called hemoglobin S) that makes some red blood cells look like a crescent moon shape. This crescent shape, called a sickle shape, causes the red blood cells to break down more quickly and get stuck in the blood vessels. This causes the signs and symptoms of the condition.

Newborn Screening and Follow-Up

Condition Details

Treatment and Management

It is important to talk to your health care provider about which treatment(s) are best for your baby. The goal of treatment is to prevent and minimize the health problems caused by this condition.

Treatments may include the following:

  • Daily dose of antibiotics to prevent repeated infections
  • Medication to prevent complications (hydroxyurea)
  • Medications to treat pain (analgesics)
  • Blood transfusions in special circumstances

Children who receive early health care and treatment for S, beta-thalassemia can have better healthier lives than those who do not receive treatment.

Community-based organizations (CBOs) are local agencies that provide services, education, and support to families affected by sickle cell conditions like S, beta-thalassemia. To find a CBO near you, please visit the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America’s list of member organizations.

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