Why is Sickle Cell Awareness Important?
Today, there are thousands of people affected by sickle cell worldwide. This condition mostly affects black and brown Americans, people with ancestors from Africa, Greece, Turkey, Italy, the Arabian Peninsula, India, parts of the Caribbean, South America, and Central America.
To create and raise awareness among people, the month of September is celebrated as Sickle Cell Awareness month worldwide!
Sickle Cell Disease:
Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited disorders characterized by misshapen red blood cells. It can be passed from generation to generation and is not communicable.
Sickle cell disease stiffens oxygen-carrying red blood cells, makes them unable to move around freely causing episodes of severe pain. These painful episodes at regular intervals are referred to as sickle cell crises that can be managed with painkillers and treated by Bone Marrow Transplant.
If left untreated or ignored, people with sickle cell disease may experience damage to various organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, or maybe death.
Do you know sickle cell disease is passed from both parents, while sickle cell trait is inherited from either of the parents?
What is Sickle Cell Trait?
Sickle cell trait is inherited from either parent who has sickle cell gene, but it never converts into sickle cell disease. An individual usually does not show any symptoms from sickle cell trait, but regular blood tests should check any signs of sickle cell trait.
The majority of red blood cells are normally round-shaped in sickle cell trait. However, there are possibilities of the presence of sickle-shaped cells, but under some circumstances.
Do you know children with sickle cell disease are at increased risk for stroke which is the highest between the ages of 2 and 16?
Symptoms of Sickle Cell Disease Are:
- Episodes of pain
- Swollen hands and feet
- Vision problems
- Delayed growth
- Frequent infections
If you experience unexplained fever, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, pain in the joints, chest, or bones, yellowish whites of the eyes and skin, or the above-mentioned symptoms, seek emergency medical care as soon as you can!
Some Facts About Sickle Cell Trait
Though a trait is not a disease or illness, if a couple is considering family planning, then some factors need to be taken care of.
If either of the parents has sickle cell trait, then the child won’t have sickle cell disease, but there is a 50% chance that your child could have the trait.
If both parents have the trait of sickle cell, then there is a 25% chance that the child may have sickle cell disorder and a 50% chance of sickle cell trait.
A simple blood test helps identify whether you have a sickle cell trait or disease.
The only effective possible cure to treat the disorder is a bone marrow transplant, but it brings desirable results only if you have a suitable donor. Also, your doctor can prescribe, Hydroxyurea to reduce the episodes of pain.
Approximately 300 babies are born with sickle cell in the UK each year.
How to Get Involved?
September is the month dedicated to creating awareness about sickle cell disease and motivating people living with sickle cell disease not to lose any hope. We are in this together!
Let’s celebrate September by raising toast by the progress made in treating people with sickle cell disease worldwide and take a vow to stand together in helping people suffering from SCD symptoms.
Let’s pledge to continue our efforts in improving the lives of people struggling with SCD by providing quality health care and supporting families affected by SCD.