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What Are the Symptoms of Sickle Cell Disease?

key information

source: WebMD


Sickle cell disease changes the shape of the oxygen-carrying molecules (called hemoglobin) found inside red blood cells. Red blood cells are usually round and flexible. This allows them to glide smoothly through your bloodstream. But when you have sickle cell disease, the abnormal hemoglobin creates stiff, sickle-shaped red blood cells.

If you have this disease, these abnormally shaped red blood cells can cause a number of health problems. For example:

• The cells build up and block blood flow to organs and tissues.
• The cells die sooner. Sickle cells live about 10 to 20 days. Healthy red blood cells live from 90 to 120 days. Red blood cells may burst open (hemolyze). Even though your body constantly makes new red blood cells to replace the old ones, sickle cell disease may prevent your body from keeping up with the demand.


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