Sickle cell anemia



Sickle cell anemia is one of a group of inherited disorders known as sickle cell disease. It affects the shape of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

Red blood cells are usually round and flexible, so they move easily through blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, some red blood cells are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These sickle cells also become rigid and sticky, which can slow or block blood flow.


Infections, pain and fatigue are symptoms of sickle cell anemia. Swelling of hands and feet also may happen because the sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood circulation.


Treatments include medicines and blood transfusions. For some children and teenagers, a stem cell transplant might cure the disease.