Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)

 

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited condition of the blood. In a healthy person, red blood cells are a round, donut shape. In a person affected by SCD some of the red blood cells are a crescent or sickle shape. These abnormally shaped cells do not live as long as normal red blood cells and tend to get stuck in blood vessels where they can block the flow of blood to certain parts of the body. People with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) have abnormal hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Abnormal, or sickle-shaped, hemoglobin cannot deliver enough oxygen to the rest of the body. This causes individuals with SCD to experience episodes of pain. Over time, the lack of oxygen could damage the organs, especially the spleen, brain, lungs and kidneys. Treatments can help relieve some of the signs, symptoms, and complications of SCD. Children who receive early and on-going treatment can live healthy lives. There are several types of SCD including hemoglobin SS, hemoglobin SC and hemoglobin S-beta thalassemia. The most common type of SCD is hemoglobin SS. The different types of SCD have some unique symptoms and some in common. It is important to find out which type of SCD your child has and talk with your doctor about signs, symptoms, and treatment specific to that condition.

For more information about sickle cell disease visit Screening, Technology, and Research in Genetics (STAR-G): Sickle Cell Disease. Visit Hematology Specialist Providers (PDF: 1 page/194KB) for a listing of medical specialists and clinic contact information.