Sickle Cell Anemia: Understanding an Issue of Blood by Maya Solomon
Sickle Cell Anemia Disease (SCD) is one of the most overlooked diseases and affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Americans. Although the disease is not isolated to African Americans, SCD does occur in about 1 out of every 500 African American births and the sickle cdl trait occurs in about one in 12 African Americans (www.cdc.gov).
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), SCD is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. People with SCD have red blood cells that contain mostly hemoglobine, an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Sometimes these red blood cells bome sickle-shaped and stiff,causing difficulty passing through small blood vessels.When the sickle-shaped cells block small blood vessels,less blood can reach that part of the body, which eventually ca uses tissue damage.This is what causes the complications of sickle cell disease.
Hemoglobin is the main substance of the red blood cell. It helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the air in our lungs to all parts of the body. Normal red blood cells contain hemoglobin A. Normal red blood cells are soft and round and can squeeze through tiny blood vessels.
There are several types of sickle cell disease, which should not be confused with Sickle Cell trait. Sickle Cell trait,similar to SCD, is an inherited disease. However, person with the trait produces both hemoglobin A and S in their red blood cells. People with the trait are generally healthy.
Sicklecell conditions are inherited from parents the same way blood type hair color, eye color, and other psychical traits are inherited. SCD is usually diagnosed at birth during routine newborn screenings.
If you are interest in finding out if you have the sickle cell trait, please contact your physician for a painless blood test.
To help someone with SCD, please donate blood at your local blood bank.
For additional information on SCD or Sickle Cell Trait, visit cdc.gov/sicklecelldisease or sicklelldisease.org.
Facts About Sickle Cell Disease
Did you know? Sickle Cell Anemia may be the result of a genetic mutation that happened in malaria-prone regions like Africa thousands of years ago. People with sickle cell traits may have been more likely to survive malaria epidemics - and because they survived when others did not
1) People with SCD start to have symptoms during the first year of life, usually around 5 months of age.
2) People with SCD are more at risk for harmful infections.
3) SCD is common among those whose ancestors come from sub-Saharan Africa,Spanish-speaking regions of the Western Hemisphere,Saudi Arabia India,and Mediterranean countries.
4) SCD occurs in about 1 out of every 36,000 Hispanic Americans birth.
5) Blood transfusions are used to treat severe anemia. The only cure for SCD is bone marrow/stem cell transplant.The procedure is very ri sky with serious side effects, including death.
6) A pregnant woman with SCD is at a higher risk of preterm labor and of having a l ow birth weight baby.
7) Taking iron supplements will not help people with SCD. This type of anemia is ca used by not enough red blood cells.