Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder.
Sickle cell anemia Sickle cell anemia Normal red blood cells are round. In sickle cell anemia, some red blood cells become deformed, so they look like sickles used to cut wheat. These unusually shaped cells give the disease its name.
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia — a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body. Normally, your red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels.
In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons.
These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body. There's no cure for most people with sickle cell anemia. But treatments can relieve pain and help prevent problems associated with the disease.
Symptoms Signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia, which vary from person to person and change over time, include: Sickle cells break apart easily and die, leaving you without enough red blood cells. Red blood cells usually live for about days before they need to be replaced.
But sickle cells usually die in 10 to 20 days, leaving a shortage of red blood cells anemia. Without enough red blood cells, your body can't get the oxygen it needs to feel energized, causing fatigue. Periodic episodes of pain, called crises, are a major symptom of sickle cell anemia.
Pain develops when sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood flow through tiny blood vessels to your chest, abdomen and joints. Pain can also occur in your bones. The pain varies in intensity and can last for a few hours to a few weeks. Some people have only a few pain episodes. Others have a dozen or more crises a year.
If a crisis is severe enough, you might need to be hospitalized. Some adolescents and adults with sickle cell anemia also have chronic pain, which can result from bone and joint damage, ulcers and other causes.
Painful swelling of hands and feet. The swelling is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking blood flow to the hands and feet. Sickle cells can damage an organ that fights infection spleenleaving you more vulnerable to infections.
Doctors commonly give infants and children with sickle cell anemia vaccinations and antibiotics to prevent potentially life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia. Red blood cells provide your body with the oxygen and nutrients you need for growth.
A shortage of healthy red blood cells can slow growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
Tiny blood vessels that supply your eyes may become plugged with sickle cells.Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia — a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body.
Normally, your red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease with severe symptoms, including pain and anemia. The disease is caused by a mutated version of the gene that helps make hemoglobin — a protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells.
The inset image shows a cross-section of a normal red blood cell with normal hemoglobin. Figure B shows abnormal, sickled red blood cells blocking blood flow in a blood vessel. The inset image shows a cross-section of a sickle cell with abnormal (sickle) hemoglobin forming rigid strands.
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease with severe symptoms, including pain and anemia. The disease is caused by a mutated version of the gene that helps make hemoglobin — a protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells.
Sickle cell disease is caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S. Hemoglobin is a protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen. Hemoglobin S changes the red blood cells. The red blood cells become fragile and shaped like crescents or sickles.
An individual with sickle cell disease can develop a crisis at any time – the pain can last for days or even weeks and is frequently severe enough to require hospitalization.