Healthy Tip of the Week (HTW): September 7 - September 13, 2015

GHHEditor September 9th

What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is a disease that is passed down from parents to their kids. For people who have this disease, their red blood cells are lower than normal and don’t have enough hemoglobin. Normally, healthy red blood cells live for about 120 days and your bone marrow continues to make new ones as the old ones die. However, with sickle cell anemia, red blood cells live for only 10-20 days. Therefore, the bone marrow can’t reproduce red blood cells quickly enough to replace the dead ones.

What’s the Problem?

In sickle cell anemia, your blood cells are sickle shaped (crescent shaped), stiff and sticky. Because of this, they can block blood flow through your body.

This can lead to:

  • Pain
  • Organ damage
  • A greater chance of infection

Who can get sickle cell?

  • 70,000-100,000 people, mainly African Americans, are affected in the United States
  • 1 in 500 African Americans are born with the disease
  • 1 out of 36,000 Hispanic Americans are affected by the disease

It is most common in people from:

  • Africa
  • South or Central America (especially Panama)
  • Caribbean Islands
  • Mediterranean counties (Turkey, Greece, Italy)
  • India
  • Saudi Arabia

Need Support/Information? Check out these resources:

Sickle Cell Thalassemia Patients Network
Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc.
 

Sickle Cell Disease Centers/Providers:

Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Division of Childhood Cancers and Blood Disorders
New York-Presbyterian, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center, St. Giles Comprehensive Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Program

 

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