images courtesy of: SickleCellDisease.org
September is Sickle Cell Awareness month, however as I peruse social media, I don’t see my timeline flooded with challenges bringing awareness to this serious blood disorder. This disease mainly affects the African-American population. There are 70,000-100,000 people in America that suffer.
There are 2 forms of this disease.
1. Trait -1 normal hemoglobin and 1 sickle hemoglobin, this means you are a carrier and probably won’t experience any medical complications)
2. Anemia -2 sickle hemoglobin and can cause serious pain and organ damage.
One out of 500 African- American births have the trait or anemia. Those numbers are mind blowing. Now I am guilty, I didn’t know much about this disease (I knew Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins from the group TLC has it), however I didn’t understand what it really was and how life changing it is for those who are diagnosed with anemia.
Sickle Cell is an inherited disease and there is no known cure. Those who are diagnosed with the anemia form can suffer from an episode called Sickle Cell crisis-due to the “sickle” shape of the cell; it makes it more difficult for the cells to pass through the blood vessels and once they get stuck in the blood vessels it causes excruciating pain. There are numerous signs and symptoms to look for- if you have multiple symptoms I encourage you to get tested.
• Shortness of breath
• Cold hands/feet
• Jaundice( whites of eyes or skin have a yellowish hue)
It is important that we as a community not only educate ourselves, but share the information with love ones. Know your status and the status of a potential mate. Let’s support, bring awareness and donate to help find a cure for this serious disease.
KEEP CALM & SUPPORT SICKLE CELL AWARENESS