Sickle-cell anemia is a hereditary blood disorder associated with chronic anemia, periodic episodes of pain and other complications.
In those affected, the life expectancy of red blood cells is 6 to 12 times shorter than normal. Instead of being flexible and round, these cells become rigid and assume a sickle shape.
The change in shape prevents cells from entering smaller blood vessels, thereby depriving body tissues and certain organs of oxygen. This can result in lesions on the arms, legs or organs (spleen, kidneys and brain).