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12 Days of Disability Awareness Day 11: Sickle cell disease 🌌

Sickle cell disease is a condition that affects red blood cells; there are multiple types with the most serious type being anaemia. Sickle cell is the name of a group of conditions and they are all inherited.

Those with sickle cell disease produce red blood cells in unusual shapes, which causes problems such as blocking blood vessels and the cells do not live as long as normal. It is a serious condition and people who have sickle cell disease will have multiple challenges throughout life. Treatment is available to help manage the symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

- Episodes of 'sickle cell crises' which can be severe and last 1 week

- Increased risk of catching serious infections

- Anaemia which causes tiredness or shortness of breath (the shape of red blood cells makes it harder for them to carry oxygen)

- Growth delays

- Strokes

- Lung problems

Sickle cell disease is inherited; it is caused by a gene that can affect how a red blood cell will develop. If both parents carry the gene, the child has a 25% chance of having the condition.

To learn more about treatments for sickle cell disease, please read through the NHS Sickle Cell Disease webpage.

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