Imagine a world where the letters A, B and O have gone missing from everyday life. You couldn’t help but notice that something is off. These aren’t just random letters. A, B and O are the main blood groups, and when there’s a blood shortage, they really do go missing. That’s why the American Red Cross is joining the international Missing Types movement to raise awareness of the need for new blood donors to ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease have red blood cells that contain mostly hemoglobin S, an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Sometimes these red blood cells become sickle-shaped (crescent shaped) and have difficulty passing through small blood vessels. When sickle-shaped cells block small blood vessels, less blood can reach that part of the body. Tissue that does not receive a normal blood flow eventually becomes damaged. This is what causes the complications of sickle cell disease. There is currently no universal cure for sickle cell disease.