Sickle cell anaemia
Sickle cell disease is the name for a group of inherited conditions that affect the red blood cells. The most serious type is called sickle cell anaemia.
Sickle cell diseasemainly affects people of African, Caribbean,Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean and Asian origin.In the UK, it's particularly commoninpeople with an African or Caribbean family background.
People with sickle cell disease produce unusually shaped red blood cells that can cause problems because they don't live as long as healthy blood cells andthey can become stuck in blood vessels.
Sickle cell disease is a serious and lifelong condition, although long-term treatment can help manage many of the problems associated with it.
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People born with sickle cell disease sometimes experience problems from early childhood, although most children have few symptoms and lead normal lives most of the time.
The main symptoms of sickle cell disease are:
Some people also experience other problems such as delayed growth, strokes and lung problems.
Stem cell or bone marrow transplants can potentially cure sickle cell disease, but they're not done very often because of the significant risks involved.
It's hoped the outlook will continue to improve as newer treatments are developed.
A carrier of sickle cell is someone who carries one of the faulty genes that causes sickle cell disease, but doesn't have the condition themselves. It's also known as having the sickle cell trait.
People who carry sickle cellwon't develop sickle cell disease, but are at risk of having a child with the condition if their partner is also a carrier.
You can request a blood test to check if you have carry sickle cellfrom your GP surgery or nearest sickle cell and thalassaemia centre .
It is pumped around the body by the heart.
Find out about sickle cell disease, a serious inherited blood disorder where the red blood cells develop abnormally. Find out about the symptoms, causes and treatments.
Read about the possible symptoms of sickle cell disease, including painful episodes (crises), infections and anaemia.
Read about what causes sickle cell disease, how it's inherited and how it affects the body.
Read about testing for sickle cell disease, including screening during pregnancy, newborn screening and tests to find out if you're a carrier of the sickle cell trait.
Read about the main treatments for sickle cell disease, including medications to prevent pain, blood transfusions and stem cell transplants.
Read advice about living with sickle cell disease, including how to avoid pain and infections, when to get medical advice and getting pregnant.