Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is caused by a mutation in hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells (RBCs). This change in hemoglobin causes RBCs to become abnormal. Normally flexible and oval-shaped, RBCs in SCD lose their flexibility and assume a rigid, “sickle” shape. This change in shape hinders the ability of RBCs to travel through vessels. Since the role of RBCs is to carry oxygen throughout the body, sickling prevents oxygen from getting to vital areas, leading to a number of major complications.

Those who receive two sickle cell genes ...

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