Sickle cell anemia is the most common form of sickle cell disease. SCD is a serious disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells. “Sickle-shaped” means that the red blood cells are shaped like a crescent.

WHAT IS IS?

Normal red blood cells are disc-shaped and look like doughnuts without holes in the center. They move easily through your blood vessels. Red blood cells contain an iron-rich protein called hemoglobin (HEE-muh-glow-bin). This protein carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Sickle cells contain abnormal hemoglobin called sickle hemoglobin or hemoglobin S. Sickle hemoglobin causes the cells to develop a sickle, or crescent, shape.

Sickle cells are stiff and sticky. They tend to block blood flow in the blood vessels of the limbs and organs. Blocked blood flow can cause pain and organ damage. It can also raise the risk for infection.

LOCAL 4 IS HERE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS:

Sickle cell disease affects millions of people around the world, and one out of every 500 African-American babies.

Tonight starting at 4 p.m., Dr. Frank McGeorge will help shine a spotlight on this painful and often misunderstood disease and introduce viewers to a local father fighting to educate people about sickle cell disease and the impact it has had on his young son. Experts will also answering questions about sickle cell disease in a live phone bank.

More: Event to help raise awareness of sickle cell disease