Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic blood disorder caused by the presence of an abnormal form of haemoglobin, which is an important molecule needed to transport oxygen to cells throughout the body. The mutated haemoglobin molecule forms strands that cause a sickle shape. The lack of oxygen in the blood can damage nerves and organs including kidneys, the liver and spleen. 


Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder/condition usually diagnosed at birth. Most people begin to show symptoms by 4 months of age however signs and symptoms can also be shown in adulthood. People who have sickle cell anaemia get it through the process of inheritance where two parents containing the sickle cell trait, which is typically an AS genotype, have a one in four chance of producing an offspring with an AA genotype; a pair of sickle cell genes when they have children. This means that if a person containing the pair of sickle cell genes were to mate the likelihood of the sickle cell gene being passed down to their own offspring is higher, resulting in an abnormal form of haemoglobin and therefore resulting in an inefficient transport of oxygen around the body. 


Major symptoms of people with sickle cell anaemia include fatigue, bacterial infections, leg ulcers and arthritis which is all due to the inability of oxygen to be transported in the body. The most common symptom of sickle cell anaemia is a crisis which happens when the sickled red blood cells block small blood vessels from transporting blood to the bones and as a result a throbbing, sharp or stabbing type of pain is developed. A crisis can be caused by many things such as intake of alcohol, exercising too much to where you become extremely tired, stress and differing weather conditions.  In a crisis, patients tend to experience pains in their back, knees, legs, arms, chest or stomach where this type pain can be mild or severe, begin suddenly and last several hours up to several days however how often and how bad the pain is does vary from person to person. 


It is therefore important to check your blood type, not only make yourself aware to any risks you might experience when producing offspring but to also understand how your body can react to different things such as diseases, high levels of stress and food.