Sickle-cell disease, or sickle-cell anaemia or sometimes drepanocytosis, is a hereditary blood disorder, characterized by an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying haemoglobin molecule in red blood cells. This leads to a propensity for the cells to assume an abnormal, rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances. Sickle-cell disease is associated with a number of acute and chronic health problems, such as severe infections, attacks of severe pain, and stroke, and there is an increased risk of death. Sickle-cell disease occurs when a person inherits two abnormal copies of the haemoglobin gene, one from each parent. Several subtypes exist, depending on the exact mutation in each haemoglobin gene. A person with a single abnormal copy does not experience symptoms and is said to have sickle-cell trait. The complications of sickle-cell disease can be prevented to a large extent with vaccination, preventative antibiotics, blood transfusion, and the drug hydroxyurea/hydroxycarbamide. A small proportion requires a transplant of bone marrow cells.
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