5 Things to Know About the Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell is an inherited disorder that leads to an abnormal shaping of the red blood cells. These abnormal red blood cells get stuck inside the blood vessels which makes it difficult to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. Sickle cell disease can cause severe pain and can also lead to infection which can cause complications like stroke and organ damage.

Here are 5 things you should know about the sickle cell disease

1. The Occurrence

Sickle cell disease is the most commonly occurring genetic disorder in the US. There are about a hundred thousand Americans who are living with this disease currently and another thousand babies are born with the disease each year. The disease is much more common than people know. Sickle cell disease is found to affect about 500,000 babies per year in the world.

2. It is a Genetic Disease and NOT Contagious

Sickle cell disease is hereditary. It is passed on from the parents to children. Both parents must carry the dominant sickle cell trait to pass the disease to their children. There is a risk of 25% of having this disease if both the parents have the trait.

3. It is Chronic but Treatable

With the advancements in science, medicine and technology, the outlook for patients with sickle cell disease has become better. Previously, most of the children died in the early years of their lives and rarely lived to see adulthood. There are new therapies and treatments available now which has led the people with sickle cell disease lead a very productive life. People with the sickle cell disease are now living into their 40s and 50s.

4. It Affects Different Races

A common notion is that sickle cell is a disease of the people of color. About 60-80% of the affected individuals are African-Americans, however, other races are affected by the disease as well. Sickle cell disease is also common among people with Mediterranean, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Indian heritage.

5. Having Sickle Cell Disease Patients Require Comprehensive Care

Sickle cell is a chronic illness. It affects many systems of the body at the same time. Therefore, it is essential that the people affected with the disease have a comprehensive care system that includes hematologists, primary care physicians, social worker and pediatricians. With a team of experts working closely with one another, the chances of leading a better life increase for the people affected with the sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease is a chronic illness that affects a number of systems in your body. It makes the red blood cells lose their disc shape and take the shape of a C. Since the red blood cells are not able to do their function properly, the supply of oxygen to all parts of the body gets affected and leads to abnormalities. It is a dangerous disease and causes anemia, severe pain and a number of other painful and serious conditions.