The Facts on Sickle Cell Disease

sickle cell disease Image: just-health.net

sickle cell disease
Image: just-health.net

 

Natasha Tiffany, MD, is a board-certified hematologist and medical oncologist with experience in a hospital setting. Since 2004, Natasha Tiffany, MD, has been providing care at her private practice for patients diagnosed with such serious conditions as sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease involves disorders of hemoglobin in the blood. People with the disease have inherited two abnormal hemoglobin genes, one from each parent, and at least one of the genes causes the body to make hemoglobin S, the defective form of hemoglobin in red blood cells.

Instead of the normal disc shape, these red blood cells are shaped like a sickle (hence the name) and are inflexible and tend to stick to blood vessel walls, obstructing the flow of blood. This deprives tissues of oxygen, leading to sudden attacks of pain, called pain crises. A lifelong illness, sickle cell disease requires the patient to remain under an oncology doctor’s care.

The disease mainly affects those of African descent. In the United States, approximately 1 in 365 black children are born with the disease, and around 100,000 Americans live with sickle cell disease today.

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