What exactly is sickle cel anaemia and why do only black people get it?

Sickle-cell disease is a general term for a group of genetic disorders caused by sickle hemoglobin (Hgb S or Hb S). In many forms of the disease, the red blood cells change shape upon deoxygenation because of polymerization of the abnormal sickle hemoglobin. This process damages the red blood cell membrane, and can cause the cells to become stuck in blood vessels. This deprives the downstream tissues of oxygen and causes ischemia and infarction. The disease is chronic and lifelong. Individuals are most often well, but their lives are punctuated by periodic painful attacks. In addition to periodic pain, there may be damage of internal organs, such as stroke. Lifespan is often shortened with sufferers living to an average of 40 years. It is common in people from parts of the world where malaria is or was common, especially in sub-saharan Africa or in descendents of those peoples. Sickle-cell disease can occur in any individual of any color or ethnicity, however.
Actually, some Mediterranean people can get it too, but you're right, it is something that affects black people.

It is a terribly painful disease. I hope you get more information on it than what I could give you. I did a brief report about it once, and i just wanted to say that Mediterranean people and other people of olive skin complexion can get it, too.
Sickle Cell Anaemia is when the red blood cells are "sickle" or curved. Usually red blood cells are round and can move around freely within blood vessels. When red blood cells are sickle shaped it makes it painful for the cells to move freely within the blood vessels which can cause blockages or sickle crisis. red blood cells transport nutrients, oxygen etc so it can be fatal if someone has a sickle criss and isnt treated. Its more common in African Caribbean people as its advantageous in hot climates with mosquito's as malaria can not infect a sickle shaped red blood cell. In Mediterranean people they can suffer with a condition called Thalassemia and that too is very similar to sickle cell but not quite the same as its a reduction of the red blood cell count.
hear goes sickle cell anaemia is a genetic disorder that is one that is passed from parent to child i think both biological parents then one in 4 of their children could inherit the condition which courses the red blood cells to change shape (sickle shape) meaning that oxygen can not be carried as efficiently coursing pain known as a crisis . pro dominantly affects those of African origin. the genetic mutation persists because if you only inherit one copy of the mutation it gives the individual a natural Resistance to malaria making them more likely to survive and reproduce thus passing on the mutation to offspring in African contreys where the disease is prevalent it is only when two defected genes are inherited that the problem presents

if this is affecting you or someone you know consult with a doctor for more accurate advice

hope this helps
anyone can get sickle cell anaemia but is predominant in African people.
The disorder affects the red blood cells which contain a special protein called haemoglobin (Hb for short). The function of haemoglobin is to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body.
People with Sickle Cell Anaemia have Sickle haemoglobin (HbS) which is different from the normal haemoglobin (HbA). When sickle haemoglobin gives up its oxygen to the tissues, it sticks together to form long rods inside the red blood cells making these cells rigid and sickle-shaped. Normal red blood cells can bend and flex easily.

Because of their shape, sickled red blood cells can't squeeze through small blood vessels as easily as the almost donut-shaped normal cells. This can lead to these small blood vessels getting blocked which then stops the oxygen from getting through to where it is needed. This in turn can lead to severe pain and damage to organs.

Sickle cell disorders predominantly affect people whose ancestry is African/Caribbean and Middle Eastern. Thalassaemia predominantly affects people from Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. Inheritance of affected genes from both parents may result in severe haemoglobin disorders (e.g. Sickle cell anaemia or thalassaemia major).

It's not only black people that get it!
It is thought that having Sickle Cell Trait (Not sickle cell disease - just having one chromosone!) can give some protection from Malaria.well thats what I kind of remember reading ages ago!