Sickle cell anemia is a disease of the blood that affects the shape and movement of blood cells. Due to changes in the structure of hemoglobin, which binds oxygen to red blood cells, people with sickle cell disease have misshapen, fragile red blood cells that do not carry oxygen as well as normal blood cells. These effects can lead to symptoms such as pain and anemia.
This website will guide you through the physiology of sickle cell anemia, from its source to its treatment. The Introduction to Sickle Cell Anemia will introduce the symptoms and genetic basis of sickle cell anemia. Normal Blood Cell Functioning explains the role of red blood cells and hemoglobin in people not affected by sickle cell anemia. Hemoglobin S explains the biochemical basis of abnormally-shaped red blood cells in sickle cell patients. Sickled Cells explains how these biochemical differences in Hemoglobin S cause physiological effects in people with sickle cell anemia. Hemoglobin F describes the form of fetal hemoglobin and its role in treatment of sickle cell anemia. Treatment Options describes treatments for sickle cell anemia from everyday prevention of symptoms to more invasive procedures. Visit Other Interesting Information for facts about future and experimental treatments of sickle cell, the evolution of sickle cell anemia, and other conditions related to sickle cell. Sickle Cell Resources are links to other sites with helpful information about sickle cell anemia and related conditions.