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Sickle cell disease is named for the distinctive shape of the red blood cells that develop with the condition: a rigid crescent (sickle) shape. The haemoglobin in someone with the condition (HbS) can become blocked within blood vessels due to the abnormal rigid structure of the cells, causing severe pain and damage to body tissue and organs (known as sickle cell crisis or vaso-occlusive crisis). Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited condition that mainly affects those of an African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean or Asian heritage.
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