An inherited red blood cell disorder. Abnormalities in the membranes of the red blood cell make them abnormally shaped and fragile. Normal red blood cells have a doughnut shape but the disorder makes them rounder and smaller. These abnormal red blood cells are still capable of maintaining normal function but the spleen sees them as damaged cells and destroys them - thus the body breaks down its own red blood cell supply. This condition may produce no obvious symptoms in some or hemolytic anemia, jaundice and gallstones in others. There is no cure for the disease but treatment may involve removal of the gallbladder and spleen in order to preserve the red blood cell supply. ...more »
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