What is it?
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. SCD is the most common genetic disorder in the United States.
How is the trait passed?
People are born with SCD because they inherit one sickle cell gene from each parent who has sickle cell trait (SCT).
SCD vs. SCT
There are a few health problems that may be related to SCT.
Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells are hard and sticky and struggle to carry oxygen through the body.
In someone with SCD, the red blood cells look like a C-shaped farm tool called a sickle.
When the sickle cells travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow.
This causes extreme pain and other serious problems such as infection, stroke, dead bones, lung disease, leg ulcers, acute chest syndrome, and more.
Although someone with SCD can have multiple serious and chronic health conditions, they can also lead a productive and healthy life.