Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease occurs when hemoglobin, a protein carried by the body’s red blood cells that attaches to oxygen in the lungs and transports it to all parts of the body, is abnormal, causing the red blood cells to take on a rigid “C” or sickle, shape. Sickle cells can get stuck and block blood flow, causing pain and infections. Complications of sickle cell disease are a result of sickle cells blocking blood flow to specific organs, and include stroke, acute chest syndrome (a condition that lowers the level of oxygen in the blood), organ damage, and blindness.
Sickle Cell Trait
Sickle cell trait (SCT) is not a mild form of sickle cell disease. Having SCT simply means that a person carries a single gene for sickle cell disease (SCD) and can pass this gene along to their children. People with SCT usually do not have any of the symptoms of SCD and live a normal life.The most important thing to know about having SCT is that you could have a baby with SCD if your partner also has an abnormal hemoglobin gene.