University of South Alabama

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited disorder which causes red blood cells to lose their ability to carry oxygen. While the normal red blood cell is shaped like a smooth and flexible disc, the sickle red blood cell becomes sickle shaped after oxygen is released from its hemoglobin. This sickle shaped red blood cell is hard and sticky and forms blockages in small blood vessels. These blockages lead to repeated acute and chronic tissue damage, chronic anemia and severe painful episodes.

Episodic pain events, infection and lung complications are the more common problems caused by sickle cell disease. Complications may include stroke, kidney failure, damage to joints, and other debilitating or life threatening conditions.

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America

Emory University Sickle Cell Information Center

 

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