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patient education

Sickle cell disease in children

key information

source: Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters

year: 2021

summary/abstract:

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that is present at birth. This means it is passed down through a parent’s genes. Children with SCD make an abnormal type of hemoglobin. This is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. With SCD, the body organs and tissues don’t get enough oxygen.

Healthy red blood cells with normal hemoglobin are round and move easily all over the body. When a child has SCD, the red blood cells are hard and sticky. They are shaped like the letter C (and like a farm tool called a sickle). These damaged red blood cells (sickle cells) clump together. They can’t move easily through the blood vessels. They get stuck in small blood vessels and block blood flow. This blockage can cause pain. It can also damage major organs.

 

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