Sickle Cell Disease OLD

Sickle cell anaemia is a group of hereditary blood disorders in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.

Healthy red blood cells are spherical and disc shaped. When a person has sickle cell anaemia, their red blood cells change shape and become like a sickle. Over time, these sickle-shaped cells will block blood vessels and restrict blood flow to vital organs like the heart.


Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Anaemia: In sickle cell anaemia, a person’s healthy red blood cells die. Even sickle cells readily disintegrate and die, leaving them with an insufficient number of red blood cells. Red blood cells last approximately 120 days before needing to be replaced. Sickle cells die in 10-20 days, leaving a shortage in red blood cells. If your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells, your body won’t have enough oxygen, resulting in exhaustion.
  • Painful episodes: Pain crises, or periodic episodes of pain, are a common symptom of sickle cell anaemia. Pain occurs when sickle-shaped red blood cells impede blood flow to your chest, abdomen, and joints through tiny blood channels. Bone pain is also a possibility.
  • Swelling of hands and feet: Sickle-shaped red blood cells limit blood flow to the hands and feet, causing edema.
  • Frequent Infections: Your spleen and other organs may be damaged by sickle cells, making you more susceptible to infections.
  • Puberty or delayed growth: Red blood cells transport oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, allowing you to thrive.
  • Issues with vision: Sickle cells can clog the tiny blood arteries that supply blood to your eyes. This can cause vision issues by damaging the retina, which is the part of the eye that interprets visual images.


Sickle cell anaemia is caused by a mutation in a haemoglobin gene—hemoglobin is present in red blood cells, it delivers oxygen to other cells. Defective haemoglobin causes red blood cells to become hard, sticky, and malformed.


Seeing a genetic counsellor before trying to conceive might help you determine

  • If you carry the sickle cell trait, and
  • your risk of having a child with the condition.

They can also discuss treatment alternatives, prevention strategies, and reproductive possibilities.