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How can sickle cell disease (SCD) affect red blood cells?

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Red blood cells have a molecule called hemoglobin that carries oxygen throughout your body. In a healthy person, hemoglobin is smooth, round, and flexible. That lets red blood cells glide easily through your bloodstream. But if you have SCD, the hemoglobin forms rods that clump together. That causes red blood cells to become rigid and curved. The odd-shaped cells block blood flow. It’s dangerous, and can cause extreme pain, anemia, and other symptoms.

From: What is Sickle Cell Disease? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

National Human Genome Research Institute: “Learning About Sickle Cell Disease.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Sickle Cell Anemia,” “How is Sickle Cell Disease Diagnosed?”

Mayo Clinic: “Sickle Cell Anemia.”

CDC: “Facts About Sickle Cell Disease.”

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 7, 2019

SOURCES:

National Human Genome Research Institute: “Learning About Sickle Cell Disease.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Sickle Cell Anemia,” “How is Sickle Cell Disease Diagnosed?”

Mayo Clinic: “Sickle Cell Anemia.”

CDC: “Facts About Sickle Cell Disease.”

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on May 7, 2019

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