Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia (also known as sickle cell disease) is an inherited genetic disorder of the blood. Found primarily in persons of equatorial African descent, it consists of a deformity of the red blood cells - normally red blood cells are round and travel easily through the blood vessels. Individuals with sickle cell anemia have red blood cells that are sticky and hard, shaped like half-moons or sickles (hence the name).

This causes anemia because there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry a sufficient amount of oxygen throughout the body. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia — a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body. Symptoms include great pain in the joints, painful swelling, infections, delayed growth, and vision problems. There is no cure for this disease but there are treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms. Interestingly, possession of the sickle-cell trait creates a natural immunity to malaria.

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