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S,S disease (sickle cell anemia)

(S • S • disease (SIK-uhl • SELL • uh-nEE-mee-uh))

General Condition Information

Other Names

  • S,S disease (Sickle cell disease)
  • S.S. Disease (Sickle cell anemia)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Sickle cell anemia (HbSS disease)
  • Sickle cell anemia Hb SS
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Sickle cell disease (Hemoglobin SS disease)
  • Sickle cell disease (hemoglobinopathies)
  • SS disease

Condition Type

Birth Prevalence

  • Each year, over one thousand babies are born in the U.S. with sickle cell conditions like S,S disease.
  • Sickle cell conditions are more common in African American and Hispanic American babies.
  • Sickle cell anemia is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States.
  • Visit GeneReviews to learn more about how often this condition occurs.

Screening Finding

Presence of only fetal hemoglobin (F) and hemoglobin S (S), with no hemoglobin A (A)

What is S,S disease (sickle cell anemia)

S,S disease is an inherited (genetic) condition that affects the hemoglobin in blood. Hemoglobin is a part of your red blood cells, which carry oxygen in your body. In S,S disease, normal hemoglobin is replaced with hemoglobin S, which is also called sickle hemoglobin.

S,S disease is a form of sickle cell disease. Normal blood cells are round and shaped like doughnuts. Babies with S,S disease have red blood cells that sickle or become crescent moon-shaped. The sickle shape of red blood cells in babies with S,S disease means the red blood cells have a harder time bringing oxygen to the body. Sickle cells also break down more quickly and can get stuck in the blood vessels. This causes many signs and symptoms of the condition.

Newborn Screening and Follow-Up

Condition Details

Treatment and Management

It is important to talk to your health care provider about which treatment(s) are best for your baby. The goal of treatment is to prevent the health problems caused by this condition.

Treatments may include the following:

  • Daily dose of antibiotics to prevent repeated infections
  • Medication to prevent complications (hydroxyurea)
  • Medications to treat pain (analgesics)
  • Blood transfusions in special circumstances

Children who receive early health care and treatment for S,S disease can have better healthier lives than those who do not receive treatment.

Community-based organizations (CBOs) are local agencies that provide services, education, and support to families affected by sickle cell conditions like S,S disease. To find a CBO near you, please visit the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America’s list of member organizations.

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