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"What is the difference between Sickle Cell SS and Sickle Cell SC?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is the difference between Sickle Cell SS and Sickle Cell SC?


From my understanding, SS is sickle cell anemia where as SC is sickle cell disease. Is this correct?


Sickle Cell SS and Sickle Cell SC are two different conditions that relate to abnormal protein mutations in blood cells. In order to find out if you have either of these conditions and how to treat it, it is important for you to see your doctor so that he or she can evaluate you. As stated above, these two conditions are caused by a mutation in the blood cell protein called hemoglobin. There are two genes for this protein (you inherit one from each parent), which is why there are two letters associated with this condition. If one of these genes is mutated to the "sickle" form, denoted 'S,' but the other gene is normal, the person with these genes is said to have sickle cell trait and generally experiences no medical issues and even has a slight resistance to malaria. However, if both genes are mutated to the sickle form, denoted SS, then this is called sickle cell anemia or sickle cell disease, and his or her blood cells can clump together, causing a blockage of blood flow, putting this person at risk for pain crises, bone degeneration, and priapism (prolonged, painful erections). The SC variant is when one gene is mutated to the S form (as mentioned above) and the other is mutated to the C variant, which is also abnormal. Again, people with just one hemoglobin C mutation usually do not experience any medical issues from it. Even if both hemoglobin genes are mutated to the C form, usually only mild anemia results. For people with one S and one C mutation, called sickle cell-hemoglobin C, they have less episodes of their blood cells clumping together than do people with SS, so they have less pain crises. However, they also have more significant degeneration of bone, retinopathy (degradation of the retina), and increased risk of experiencing priapism. Again, it is important for you to see your doctor if you suspect that you have either of these conditions, in order to be appropriately tested for them and treated if necessary.

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