What You Need to Know

Sickle cell anaemia is a disease passed down through families. It is an inherited condition of the blood and it is considered the most common genetic disease. It is a group of disorders that affects haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the protein, which carries oxygen to the tissues.

Not contagious

Sickle cell disease is not contagious, but is acquired at birth. It occurs when a child inherits two sickle haemoglobin genes, one from each parent.

Caused by a genetic abnormality

The disease is caused by a genetic abnormality in the gene for haemoglobin, which results in the production of sickle haemoglobin.

Improved life expectancy

Life expectancy for patients with Hb-SS has increased to a median of 45 years and for HbSC patients to 65 years, a significant improvement from 14.3 years for Hb-SS 3 patients.

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Abnormal Hemoglobin Genes

People who have SCD inherit two abnormal hemoglobin genes, one from each parent. In all forms of SCD, at least one of the two abnormal genes causes a person’s body to make hemoglobin S. When a person has two hemoglobin S genes, Hemoglobin SS, the disease is called sickle cell anemia. This is the most common and often most severe kind of SCD. Hemoglobin SC disease and hemoglobin Sβ thalassemia (thal-uh-SEE-me-uh) are two other common forms of SCD.

Inherited Red Blood Cell Disorders

The term sickle cell disease (SCD) describes a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. People with SCD have abnormal hemoglobin, called hemoglobin S or sickle hemoglobin, in their red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. “Inherited” means that the disease is passed by genes from parents to their children. SCD is not contagious. A person cannot catch it, like a cold or infection, from someone else.

SICKLE CELL AWARENESS

Sickle cell anaemia is a disease passed down through families. It is an inherited condition of the blood and it is considered the most common genetic disease. It is a group of disorders that affects haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the protein, which carries oxygen to the tissues.

Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) is the most common of the sickle cell diseases and is defined by the presence of the abnormal haemoglobin HbS.

This is caused by having two copies of the beta-globin gene containing the genetic alteration for HbS.

The other forms of sickle cell disease result from inheriting a genetic alteration for HbS in one gene and another abnormal beta-globin chain variant in the second beta-globin gene.