Sickle cell disease: Key points

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  • Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited blood disorders that is passed down in families. It is not contagious.
  • Sickle cell disease is caused by abnormal hemoglobin, which causes red blood cells to “sickle”.
  • Pain and anemia are common symptoms of sickle cell disease. They occur when sickle cells get stuck in blood vessels and cannot deliver enough oxygen around the body.
  • People can also have less common complications because of their sickle cell disease, such as infection, stroke, retinopathy, and delayed puberty.
Last updated: August 10th 2017