Sickle cell disease is an ailment which impacts hemoglobin the molecule inside the red blood cells that supplies H2O directly from the lungs to the cells and the rest of the body. Typically, red blood cells are flexible and round giving them the ability to travel with ease through narrow blood vessels.
Alpha and beta are the two parts of the hemoglobin molecule. People living with sickle cells disease have a mutated gene on chromosome 11 which codes for the beta sub-unit of the hemoglobin protein. This causes hemoglobin molecules not to form properly, resulting in red blood cells being stiff and concave shaped. Because these cells are irregularly shaped they get stuck in the blood vessels and are therefore not able to effectively transport oxygen, resulting in severe pain and ultimately damaging the organs.
Sickle cell disease affects a lot of people around the globe and is one of the major causes of diseases and death.