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

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) occurs in about one out of every 365 African American births. SCD occurs in about one out of every 1,400 Hispanic- American births. People of Middle Eastern , Asian, Indian and Mediterranean descent are also affected. Approximately 100,000 people live with SCD in the United States.  One out of every 10 African Americans has sickle cell trait.  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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