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QUICK SICKLE CELL FACTS

Our first fact is to address a two common misconceptions.

 

1.) Sickle cell is not only a black disease. Sickle cell can be found in any and every race because because it is a genetic blood disorder.

 

2.) Sickle cell may be considered a rare disease in first world countries like the US and UK, however sickle cell affects more people around the world that any other genetic condition. In fact, millions carry the sickle cell gene.

This fact is to address the misconception that sickle cell is contagious.

 

SICKLE CELL IS NOT CONTAGIOUS!

 

Sickle cell is a genetic disorder, where the gene is passed down through generations. Sickle cell must to be passed down to you in order for you to carry the gene.

Sickle cell is a blood disorder, and because blood is needed throughout the body, this can result in complications in any part of the body.

 

Common complications include: anemia, pain crises, and infections. Severe complications include pneumonia, acute chest syndrome, stroke, and other life-threatening complications.

 

These complications are not limited to any age, and can occur in infants with sickle cell disease as well.

In sickle cell patients, red blood cells go from being soft, flexible and round to hard, sticky and sickle shaped, when the oxygen concentration decreases. Because of this transformation, red blood cells are no longer soft and flexible, and it becomes harder for them to move through blood vessels.

 

Sickle red blood cells can obstruct blood flow, which can cause a common sickle cell complication - a sickle cell crisis. A sickle cell crisis can be extremely painful and require medical attention.

There are various types of sickle cell diseases. The most common are sickle cell anemia (hgb SS), sickle c disease (hgb SC), and sickle beta thalassemia.

 

There are also more rare forms of sickle cell diseases which include sickle d disease, sickle e disease, and sickle o disease. These forms are found in different regions of the world.

A hemoglobin electrophoresis is the best method to test for sickle cell disease. This test will identify the genotype (or what type) of sickle cell disease and traits your inherited. It is also important to test for thalassemia and other hemoglobinopathies as well.

 

A simple blood draw is all it takes to find your your genetic status.

Many sickle cell disease patients rely on blood transfusion so manage the disease. Chronic transfusion patients receive blood transfusions on a monthly basis in order to stay healthy. This is why donating blood is so important.

 

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