red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a "sickle." When the disease is active, during what has become known as a "crisis", patients become ill and can be hospitalized for days, weeks and sometimes even months. As a result, leading a normal life becomes challenging on many different levels. During a crisis, the sickled cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, while travelling through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause chronic, severe pain and other serious problems such as infections, stroke, acute chest syndrome and possibly even death.
In 2010, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the discovery of this terrible
disease. Sadly, we are still searching for a cure.