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patient education

Genetics of sickle cell disease

key information

source: Sickle Options

year: N/A

summary/abstract:

Sickle cell disease is inherited from parents. As sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder, at least one parent must have the sickle cell gene (sickle cell trait or disease). The other parent may have the sickle cell gene or another abnormal hemoglobin gene.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) determines genetics. Segments of the DNA Helix contain groups of amino acids (codes) which determine characteristics which are inherited from parents such as eye and hair color, height, blood type and disease.

Sickle cell disease is not contagious rather hereditary. The bone marrow produces abnormal hemoglobin called Hemoglobin S (HbS). Instead of being dissolved like salt in water, it becomes like a crystal or polymer. This causes the cells to change shape and look like a crescent or a sickle. The sickle cells can get stuck and block blood vessels. The sickle cells are not flexible and can break apart in the circulation.

 

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