Sickle Cell Disease

and it's affects

Sickle Cell Description

Sickle cell anemia is a disease passed down through families in which red blood cells form an abnormal sickle or crescent shape. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body and are normally shaped like a disc. Sickle cell is caused by Hemoglobin S. An abnormal type of hemoglobin that changes the shape of red blood cells.Sickle cell anemia is inherited from both parents. If you inherit the sickle cell gene from only one parent, you will have sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait do not have the symptoms of sickle cell anemia.

Sickle cell disease is much more common in people of African and Mediterranean descent. It is also seen in people from South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

How Do You Get Sickle Cell?

Sickle cell is an inherited trait that is passed on by both parents. If someone inherits a sickle cell gene from one parent and a normal one from the other, the offspring inherits "sickle cell trait". Sickle cell trait produces no symptoms or problems for most people. Sickle Cell Disease cannot be contracted or "passed on". The genes involved in sickle cell disease affect the hemoglobin. A protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen in the lungs and and delivers it to the peripheral tissues, such as the liver and muscles

How is Sickle Cell Tested and Diagnosed

Tests commonly performed to diagnose and monitor patients with sickle cell anemia include:

  • Bilirubin

  • Blood oxygen

  • Complete blood count (CBC)

  • Hemoglobin Electrophoresis

  • Serum creatinine

  • Serum potassium

  • Sickle Cell Test


    A simple blood test, done at any time during a person's lifespan, can detect whether he or she has sickle hemoglobin. However, early diagnosis is very important.

Symptoms and Impact

Symptoms usually do not occur until after age 4 months.Almost all patients with sickle cell anemia have painful episodes (called crises), which can last from hours to days. These crises can cause pain in the bones of the back, the long bones, and the chest.Some patients have one episode every few years. Others have many episodes per year. The crises can be severe enough to require a hospital stay.


When the anemia becomes more severe, symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue

  • Paleness

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Shortness of breath

  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)



    Over time, the spleen no longer works. As a result, people with sickle cell anemia may have symptoms of infections such as:

    • Bone infection

    • Gallbladder infection (cholecystitis)

    • Lung infection (pneumonia)

    • Urinary tract infection


      Other symptoms include:


      -Delayed growth and puberty

      -Painful joints caused by arthritis



Support Group

The William E. Proudford Sickle Cell Fund, inc. is a foundation who's mission is to support sickle cell awareness, education, state-of-the-art treatment and research, and to bring hope to families affected by this devastating disease. And overall rid the world of Sickle Cell Disease.


Interesting Facts

-Unlike normal red blood cells, which can live for 120 days, sickle-shaped cells live only 10 to 20 days.

-In the United States, the disease most commonly affects African-Americans.

-About 1 out of every 500 African-American babies born in the United States has sickle cell anemia.

-Sickle cell disease is most common among people from Africa, India, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

-Sickle cell is the most common inherited blood disorder

-Patients need repeated blood transfusions

-Women with sickle cell are able to have healthy pregnancy's

-It reduces the risk of Malaria

-Miles Davis, Paul Williams, Tionne, and Georgeanna Tillman are famous celebrities that have or had sickle cell disease.

-Sickle cell is actually not a disease but, an inherited trait

Informational Video

This video should help you visualize the effects this disease has on the human body
Sickle Cell Disease - What Causes Sickle Cell Disease Video - About.com.m4v

Sources