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What is a Sickle-cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a disease passed down through families. The red blood cells which are normally shaped like a disc take on a sickle or crescent shape. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body.medical treatment and can get worse very rapidly.
Sickle-cell Anemia Symptoms

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)
Younger children with sickle cell anemia have attacks of abdominal pain.

Causes

Sickle cell anemia is caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S. Hemoglobin is a protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen.

Hemoglobin S changes the shape of red blood cells. The red blood cells become shaped like crescents or sickles.
The fragile, sickle-shaped cells deliver less oxygen to the body's tissues.
They can also get stuck more easily in small blood vessels, as well as break into pieces that can interrupt healthy blood flow. These problems decrease the amount of oxygen flowing to body tissues even more



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