Explore Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease. People who have the disease inherit two genes for sickle hemoglobin—one from each parent.
Sickle hemoglobin causes red blood cells to develop a sickle, or crescent, shape. Sickle cells are stiff and sticky. They tend to block blood flow in the blood vessels of the limbs and organs. Blocked blood flow can cause pain and organ damage. It can also raise the risk for infection.
People who inherit a sickle hemoglobin gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other parent have sickle cell trait. Their bodies make both sickle hemoglobin and normal hemoglobin.
People who have sickle cell trait usually have few, if any, symptoms and lead normal lives. However, some people may have medical complications.
People who have sickle cell trait can pass the sickle hemoglobin gene to their children. The following image shows an example of an inheritance pattern for sickle cell trait.
When both parents have a normal gene and an abnormal gene, each child has a 25 percent chance of inheriting two normal genes; a 50 percent chance of inheriting one normal gene and one abnormal gene; and a 25 percent chance of inheriting two abnormal genes.
Living With and Managing Sickle Cell Disease (Nicholas)
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Sickle Cell Anemia, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Visit Children and Clinical Studies to hear experts, parents, and children talk about their experiences with clinical research.
September 9, 2014
NIH-convened panel recommends expanded adoption of drug and transfusion treatments for individuals with sickle cell disease
An expert panel has recommended expanded adoption of the drug hydroxyurea for the care of people with sickle cell disease, according to a report issued today. The report also suggests that clinicians give periodic blood transfusions to children with the disease to reduce stroke risk. According to the panel, both treatments are underutilized.
NHLBI-supported research has helped reduce the burden of sickle cell disease. Learn more about how this research has benefited Tiffany McCoy and others who are living with sickle cell disease in the NHLBI’s stories of success.
September 2, 2014
Gary H. Gibbons
Researcher Brings Medicine One Step Closer to Widely Available Cure for Sickle Cell Disease
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.