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What is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell is an inherited blood disorder. Learn more about the disease and how it affects the body below

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Inherited Blood Disorder

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that affects the shape of red blood cells. These cells become shaped like a sickle or "C" shaped.

Cell Shape

These cells usually die early, causing a constant shortage of red blood cells. When traveling through the bodies small blood vessels, sickled cells can get stuck and clog blood flow. 

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Patients with SCD often have intense pain, often called a sickle cell crisis. This is one of the main reasons why SCD patients seek emergency care. Anemia is also a common SCD symptom. Anemia happens when there isn't enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Organ damage can also occur due to the lack of blood and oxygen being circulated throughout the body. Other common symptoms include: acute chest syndrome, stroke, and premature death.


SCD occurs in about 1 out of 365 Black or African American births

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If two people with sickle cell trait have children, there is a 1 in 4 chance that their child will have SCD

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Those with sickle cell trait have normal red blood cells

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Blood tests can determine if someone has sickle cell trait

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