Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that causes the red blood cells to be shaped like a crescent. Red blood cells are normally shaped like a disc.
In Figure A, normal red blood cells are able to flow freely within the blood vessel, carrying oxygen throughout the body.
Figure B shows red blood cells affected by sickle cell disease. The abnormal cells, shaped like a crescent, are sticky and clump together, blocking blood flow around the body. Serious infections, pain and organ damage can occur.
Source: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Go to www.childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/sicklecell for more information on sickle cell.