Also called: Hemoglobin SS disease

Sickle cell anemia is a disease in which your body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. The cells are shaped like a crescent or sickle. They don't last as long as normal, round red blood cells, which leads to anemia . The sickle cells also get stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause pain and organ damage. A genetic problem causes sickle cell anemia. People with the disease are born with two sickle cell genes, one from each parent. If you only have one sickle cell gene, it's called sickle cell trait. About 1 in 12 African Americans has sickle cell trait. A blood test can show if you have the trait or anemia. Most states test newborn babies as part of their newborn screening programs.