Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia — a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body.

Normally, your red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.

There's no cure for most people with sickle cell anemia. But treatments can relieve pain and help prevent problems associated with the disease.

Dec. 29, 2016
  1. Vichinsky EP. Overview of the clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
  2. Sickle cell disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca/. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
  3. Field JJ , et al. Overview of the management and prognosis of sickle cell disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
  4. Iughetti L, et al. Novel insights in the management of sickle cell disease in childhood. World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics. 2016;5:25.
  5. Living well with sickle cell disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/healthyliving-living-well.html. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
  6. Estcourt LJ, et al. Red blood cell transfusion to treat or prevent complications in sickle cell disease: An overview of Cochrane reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD012082/full. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
  7. Rodgers GP. Hydroxyurea and other disease-modifying therapies in sickle cell disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
  8. AskMayoExpert. Sickle cell disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.