What Is Sickle Cell Disease?

Dr. Rodgers talks about sickle cell disease, including its effects on red blood cells and how common it is.

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Sickle cell disease occurs in about 1 out of every 500 African American births.

Hi, I’m Dr. Griffin Rodgers with the NIH.

Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder in which red cells become abnormally shaped.

Normal red cells are shaped like a disc and move easily through the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues in your body. In sickle cell disease, many red cells are crescent-shaped, stiff and sticky, and can block blood vessels, which prevents oxygen from reaching tissues. This can lead to anemia and pain, and also damage organs, muscles, and bones.

Although there is no widely available cure for sickle cell disease, there are treatments to prevent pain and other problems associated with this disease.

Join me next week and I’ll talk about diagnosis and treatment for sickle cell disease. For more information, follow us on Twitter @NIDDKgov.

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