WHAT IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

About Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle Cell Disease is a hereditary disease that cause the red blood cells to change shape, limiting the supply of oxygen in the body. The rigid and irregular shape of the cells causes severe joint pain and can lead to other serious health problems. These painful episodes are debilitating, disruptive, and can shorten one’s life.  The pain can be lessened by narcotics, oxygen, and intraveneous fluids.  However, at this time, the disease continues to be incurable.

Trait versus Disease

One out of 10 African-Americans has sickle cell trait. One out of 500 African-Americans has sickle cell disease. Latinos and people of Mediterranean descent are also affected by this disease. If you inherit this tendency from one parent, you have sickle cell trait.  If you inherit the trait from both parents, you will have Sickle Cell Disease.  If both parents have sickle cell trait, each time a child is born, there is a 25% chance the child will have sickle cell disease.

Effects of Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle Cell Disease can only be inherited. It is not contagious.  The disease can trigger the following symptoms:

  • Excruciating Pain
  • Swollen Limbs
  • Extreme Exhaustion
  • Strokes
  • Damaged Organs
  • Premature Loss of Life
  • Acute Chest Syndrome
  • Leg Ulcers

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