What causes sickle cell anaemia?
In sickle cell disease, haemoglobin does not work well. Haemoglobin is in your red blood cells and it carries oxygen around the body. Normal red blood cells are flexible and disc-shaped, but in sickle cell disease they can become rigid and shaped like a crescent or sickle. These cells also do not live as long as normal red blood cells. These changes means that your haemoglobin cannot carry as much oxygen.
This can cause symptoms of anaemia as your body cannot get the oxygen it needs.
How common is sickle cell anaemia?
Nearly all people with sickle cell disease have anaemia. Sometimes the anaemia can be severe and then it is life-threatening as it can cause serious problems if left untreated.