Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that is caused by the mutation of the red blood cells. It manifests when the sickle cell trait/gene is passed on from both parents. It affects how oxygen is carried to the organs around the body, due to “sickling” as a result of the short lifespan of the healthy red blood cells in the bone marrow.
Sickling occurs when the red blood cells break down into a sickle shape. The broken down sickle-shaped red blood cells get stuck in tiny blood vessels, causing slow or blocked blood flow and oxygen; resulting in complications such as anaemia, pain crisis, and infections. Although sickle cell disorder is a serious and lifelong condition, careful long-term management can help alleviate many of the complications associated with it.
Sickle cell disease is not common and rare in some regions and countries like Australia, hence, many people are not aware of it.