When you have an abnormal hemoglobin structure, it can disrupt the shape of those red blood cells, impeding their function and flow throughout your blood vessels. This can be seen in people who have sickle cell disease, like Alanna.
Alanna gets her blood tested every four to six weeks. If her hemoglobin counts are too low, she must receive a blood transfusion.
When her hemoglobin is low, the large number of sickled cells in her bloodstream have trouble traveling through her blood vessels, cutting off the flow of oxygen to her tissues. This can cause a pain crisis, an ulcer, or any number of other complications.
Blood transfusions replace those sickled cells with healthy red blood cells and help her body function properly and get her back to normal life.
“Blood transfusions have saved my life,” she said. “Not just saved me from pain, saved me from dying.