Sickle Cell Disease
What is sickle cell disease? Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited hemoglobin disorders. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. An individual diagnosed with sickle cell disease has inherited two abnormal hemoglobin genes. This individual has a S or sickle hemoglobin. The abnormal sickle hemoglobin cells form an abnormal crescent moon shape or shape of a farming tool called sickle. The sickle cells are hard and firm, instead of round and flexible. These abnormal blood cells clog blood vessels, causing episodes of severe pain, organ damage, and other serious health problems. Normal red blood cell live about 120 days. Sickle cells live about 10-15 days which results in anemia. In the United States, it is estimated that over 100,000 people have sickle cell disease. Over 1,000 American babies are born with the disease each year.
Normal Cell & Sickle Cell
Normal Cells are round and soft. They easily travel through vessels transporting need oxygen throughout the body. Sickle cells are firm and have an abnormal sickle shape making it difficult to travel easily through vessels causing less need oxygen to be transported to organs, tissues and bones.