What Is Sickle Cell Anaemia?


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A condition that affects the red blood cells is known as sickle cell anaemia. Patients suffering from this disease do not have the normal disc shape red blood cells, but have a crescent moon known as sickle shape cells. These people have a different form of haemoglobin which is known as sickle haemoglobin (HbS). This is very different from the haemoglobin (HbA) found in normal red blood cells.
Now the question is that how does this disease arise? This disease is a result of mutation in the DNA of the gene for one of the haemoglobin chains. This mutation results in an alternation in an amino acid in one of the protein chains.
When sickle haemoglobin gives up its oxygen to the tissues, its sticks to form long rods inside the red blood cells making the cells rigid and sickle- shaped. This can cause blockage in small blood vessels such as capillaries. This can stop oxygen from getting to where it is needed and it can lead to severe damage in important organ.
Sickle cell anaemia is very common in people of Africa, Caribbean, Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia.

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