Get the Facts
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a blood disorder passed down from parents that mainly affects people with African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian backgrounds. It makes the red blood cells, which carry oxygen, become a weird shape and stiff. The most common kind of SCD is called sickle cell anemia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 100,000 Americans have SCD. Around one in 365 African American babies are born with it. SCD can cause really bad pain, hurt your organs, and lead to other health problems, making life tough for those who have it.
Sickle cell anemia is a lifelong condition, and there’s no cure for it right now. It happens because of a change in the gene that makes a part of the blood called hemoglobin. This change leads to making a strange hemoglobin called hemoglobin S. When red blood cells with hemoglobin S release oxygen, they get stiff and turn into a sickle shape. These sickle-shaped cells tend to get stuck in small blood vessels, which causes blockages and less blood flow. This brings pain, hurts organs, and makes it easier to get sick.
If you or someone you know is affected by Sickle Cell Disease, it is essential to be informed about the condition and access available resources and support. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Seek Medical Guidance: If you suspect you have SCD or have been diagnosed with the disease, consult with a healthcare professional who specializes in hematology or genetics. They can provide personalized guidance, information, and treatment options.
2. Education and Awareness: Learn more about SCD by accessing reputable sources of information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provide comprehensive resources on SCD, including symptoms, treatment, and management strategies. Understanding the disease can help individuals navigate their condition and make informed decisions.
3. Find Support Organizations: Connect with local or national organizations dedicated to supporting individuals with SCD and their families. These organizations can offer valuable resources, support groups, educational materials, and assistance in navigating healthcare systems.
4. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated about SCD and how it affects you personally. New treatments and helpful tips for managing your condition are always emerging. Your healthcare provider can share the latest insights and ways to improve your quality of life.
5. Share Your Experience: Don’t hesitate to talk about your journey with SCD with friends, family, and your healthcare team. Sharing your experiences can help others learn and provide you with valuable support. Your story can inspire and reassure those going through similar challenges, creating a strong and caring community of understanding.
Remember, knowing about Sickle Cell Disease and finding support is really important. When you learn, connect with helpful resources, and become part of a supportive community, people with SCD can get the help and understanding they need.
Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit www.communityhealthnet.org for more information.
Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public in learning more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sickle Cell Disease. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/index.html
2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Sickle Cell Disease. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sickle-cell-disease