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patient education

When Your Child Has Sickle Cell Anemia

key information

source: UC Health

year: 2020


Sickle cell anemia is a problem passed down through genes. It affects the red blood cells (RBCs). RBCs have a protein called hemoglobin that lets them carry oxygen through the body. With sickle cell anemia, a problem with the hemoglobin causes the cells to be C-shaped (like a sickle) instead of round. As a result, the cells can’t move easily through the smallest blood vessels. Because the cells tend to stick together, this can clog the vessels and prevent normal blood flow. Also, sickled cells don’t live as long as normal RBCs. When the body doesn’t have enough healthy RBCs, this causes anemia. Sickle cell anemia is very serious and can hurt your child’s health. Work with your child’s healthcare provider to learn about treatment options for your child.

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