JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sickle cell anaemia. Artwork of red blood cells in sickle cell anaemia (drepanocytosis). Here, normal red blood cells (rounded) contrast with elongated sickle-shaped cells. Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disease that largely affects black people, in which the red blood cells contain abnormal haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment. During deoxygenation, the haemoglobin distorts the red blood cells into a sickle shape, causing bone ache and organ damage. The fragile sickle cells are easily destroyed in the bloodstream. There is no effective cure, and treatment aims to alleviate the symptoms.
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