The sickle, a C-shaped farming tool, is an emblem of the Grim Reaper, an ancient personification of death. A glimpse of the blade in a reaper’s hands signifies certain demise. In the human body, the shape can mean a similar fate.
C-shaped red blood cells are symptomatic of sickle cell disease (SCD), an inherited blood disorder that causes cells to harden and deform, clogging blood vessels as they flow through our veins. Healthy blood cells remain round and robust while carrying oxygen throughout the human body, but sickled cells clump together and die off quickly, leaving a shortage of red blood cells that can be damaging. The average life expectancy for those with sickle cell disease is only 48 years, according to the latest statistics...
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