Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder that is caused by an abnormality in the hemoglobin protein, which is responsible for carrying oxygen in red blood cells. The disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means that a child must inherit two copies of the sickle cell gene, one from each parent, to develop sickle cell disease.
The sickle cell gene is most common in populations with African ancestry, as it is believed to have developed as a genetic adaptation to protect against malaria. When a person inherits two copies of the sickle cell gene, their red blood cells can become stiff and sickle-shaped, which can cause a number of health problems.
In babies, sickle cell disease can cause symptoms such as pain, infections, and anemia. If left untreated, sickle cell disease can lead to serious complications, including stroke, organ damage, and even death.
There are various treatments available to help manage the symptoms of sickle cell disease, including medications, blood transfusions, and bone marrow transplants. Early diagnosis and proper medical care are essential for people with sickle cell disease to live healthy and productive lives.