About Sickle Cell Disease

Normal red blood cells are round, almost like doughnuts. They move  through small blood vessels in the body to deliver oxygen, which is  carried by a substance called hemoglobin. In sickle cell disease, one  little change in the hemoglobin can cause it to form long rods when it  gives away oxygen. These rigid rods change the round red cells into  hard, sticky sickle shapes. When these hard and pointed red cells go  through the small blood tube, they clog the flow and break apart. This  can cause pain, damage and a low blood count, or anemia.

Click here to learn about sickle cell trait.