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Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that disrupts red blood cells. So typical red blood cells contain hemoglobin A (HbA), while people with sickle cell disease have red blood cells with mostly hemoglobin S (HgbS), an atypical type of hemoglobin. The atypical "S" hemoglobin causes red blood cells to become sickle-shaped (crescent-shaped). This makes the sickle-shaped cells difficult to a pass through small blood vessels causing so many symptoms (sometimes fatal) in the body. There are several types of sickle cell disease; 

  • sickle cell disease (SS disease, most common),

  • sickle hemoglobin C (SC Disease),

  • and sickle-cell beta thalassemia (Sß+ or Sß0 disease)

Common complications include: anemia, pain crises, and infections. 

A sickle cell crisis can be extremely painful and require instant medical attention.

Severe complications include pneumonia, acute chest syndrome, stroke, and other life-threatening complications. These complications are not limited to any age, and can occur in infants with sickle cell disease as well.

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