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Sickle Cell Disease, also known as Sickle Cell Anemia, is the most common, inherited blood disorder in the United States. An estimated 80,000 Americans have the disease.
The lifelong disorder causes red blood cells to become sickle-shaped, or crescent-shaped like a moon. Because of their abnormal shape, sickled cells get stuck in veins, blocking blood flow. When this happens, oxygen can’t reach nearby tissues, causing sudden, severe pain called crises. A crises episode can last for hours or days and often requires hospitalization.