Sickle cell disease changes normal, round red blood cells into cells that can be shaped like crescent moons. The name “sickle cell” comes from the crescent shape of the cells. (A sickle is a tool with a crescent-shaped blade.)
Normal red blood cells move easily through your blood vessels, taking oxygen to every part of your body. But sickled cells can get stuck and block blood vessels, which stops the oxygen from getting through. That can cause a lot of pain. It can also harm organs, muscles, and bones.
Sickle cell disease occurs in 1 out of every 500 African American births and 1 out of every 36,000 Hispanic American births. Sickle cell trait occurs in approximately 1 in 12 African Americans. An estimated 100,000 people live with Sickle Cell Disease in the U.S. and millions affected Globally.