Hematologist-Oncologist Questions Hematologist-Oncologist

Is sickle cell anemia genetically passed down?

I am a 30 year old female. I want to know is sickle cell anemia genetically passed down?

3 Answers

Yes. There are several variations in sickle cell disease, and they are all the result of a mutation in one of the 2 protein chains that make up the hemoglobin molecule. Under stress and/or conditions of low oxygen tension, the mutated hgb molecule changes shape and polymerizes into a long stack of molecules (like a stack of legos) which deforms the round cell into a crescent or "sickle" shaped cell. These cells eventually break and cause anemia (or low red cells).
Sickle Cell anemia is a recessive gene which means that both parents have to have a copy of the gene and if they both pass that chromosome to their child, that child will have sickle cell anemia.