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patient education

Sickle cell disease and pregnancy

key information

source: University of Rochester Medical Center

year: N/A

summary/abstract:

Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder passed down from parent to child. People with sickle cell disease have abnormal hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body.

Normal red blood cells are smooth, round, and flexible. They look like the letter “O.” This helps them carry oxygen and move through the vessels easily. The abnormal hemoglobin in sickle cell disease makes the red blood cells stiff and sticky. They form into the shape of a sickle, or the letter “C.” These sickle cells tend to clump together and can’t easily move through the blood vessels. The clumps block the flow of healthy, oxygen-carrying blood. This causes pain and damages tissues.

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