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Sickle cell disease affects millions of people all over the world. This inherited blood disorder is characterized by flawed hemoglobin—the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues of the body. While normal red blood cells are smooth, disk-shaped and move easily through the blood vessels, cells with sickle cell hemoglobin are stiff, sticky and have the tendency to clump together. The resulting blockages of small blood vessels and the flow of healthy oxygen-rich blood can cause pain and other complications.
Here are four things you may not know about sickle cell disease.
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