What it is
Sickle-cell disease (SCD)results in issues with the protein haemoglobin which is responsible for carrying oxygen in the red blood cells, leading the cells to deform and in some cases turn into a sickle-like shape. The most common type of SCD is the sickle-cell anaemia and problems related to the disease usually begin around 6 months and continue throughout an individual’s life. Some problems may include attacks of pain, anemia, infections, and stroke. In the developed world average life expectancy is 50 years.
How it is transmitted
Sickle-cell disease is a genetically passed down blood disorder and occurs when a person inherits two copies of the haemoglobin gene that carry the abnormality. That means that both parents have to be carriers of the disease for a child to be affected. A small percentage of people can be cured by bone marrow cells transplant, and many treatments are available to improve the quality of life of people with SCD including pain medication, vaccination, antibiotics, and folic accide supplementation.
SDC is estimated to affect the lives of 100,000 Americans, reason why in 1983 the Federal Government officially recognized September as National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. According to SouthEast Genetics, “the observance originated in 1975 when the Association and its Member Organizations began conducting month long events to call attention to sickle cell disease and the need to address the problem at national and local levels.”
This month, learn more about SCD and what you can do:Button Text