Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia caused by gene mutation. With sickle cell anemia, your red blood cells become rigid, sticky and are like sickles or crescent moons. These irregularly shaped cells can stick to the small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.
What is sickle cell anemia: sticky sickle-shaped blood cells?
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease. Normally, your red blood cells are flexible and round. So they can move easily through your blood vessels. Yet in the case of sickle cell anemia, your blood cells are like sickles. They easily stick to your vessels or burst in your blood vessels. Normal red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before they die, but sickle cells usually die in 10 to 20 days. This leaves the patient short of blood cells and causing anemia.
What are the causes of sickle cell anemia - gene mutation
Sickle cell anemia is caused by gene mutation. In fact, the mutated gene is responsible for making heboglobin, a red, iron-rich compound that gives blood its red color. In sickle cell anemia, the abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to become rigid, sticky and misshapen.
The sickle cell gene is passed from generation to generation in a pattern of inheritance called autosomal recessive inheritance. This means that if a child has the disease, both the mother and the father must have passed on the defective gene to the child.
If only one parent passes the sickle cell gene to the child, that child will have the sickle cell trait. With one normal gene and one defective gene, people with the sickle cell trait make both normal hemoglobin and sickle cell hemoglobin. Their blood might contain some sickle cells, but they generally don't have symptoms. But they are carriers of the disease, which means they can pass the gene to their children.