SCD causes red blood cells to form into a hard sickle or “C” shape due to an abnormal hemoglobin type (a protein that carries oxygen in the blood). This abnormality causes red blood cells to not live as long as normal red blood cells. Sickled red blood cells block blood flow and die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells. This often causes pain, fatigue, swelling, anemia, and jaundice, among other symptoms.
Access date: 11 January 2021