Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited blood disorder which affects the shape of the red blood cells.
Red blood cells are normally round-shaped. If a person has Sickle Cell Disease, the red blood cells change and become pointed or sickle-shaped.
The sickle-shaped cells can block the flow of blood in the small blood vessels resulting in severe pain known as Sickle Cell Crisis.
Presently there is no cure for Sickle Cell Disease, but people with Sickle Cell Disease can lead productive lives by maintaining good health practices.
1 out of every 400 - 600 Black American babies is born with Sickle Cell Disease each year.
Sickle Cell trait is different from Sickle Cell Disease. A person with Sickle Cell trait has normal round blood cells.
Each year 1 out of every 10-12 Black American babies is born with Sickle Cell trait.
A person does not get sick from having Sickle Cell trait. The only way to find out if you have the trait is by special blood tests.
If 2 people with Sickle Cell trait have children, there is a 1 in 4 chance, with each pregnancy that a baby will be born with Sickle Cell Disease.
Sickle Cell trait does not change to Sickle Cell Disease.
Neither Sickle Cell Disease nor Sickle Cell trait can be caught. A person is born with it.
Sickle Cell Disease and Sickle Cell trait occur mostly in people of African descent. It also occurs in people whose ancestors are from around the Caribbean Seas, such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica; from countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Italy, Sicily, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, South India and also American Indians.
If you are old enough to be the parent of a child, you should be tested for Sickle Cell trait.
How To Get Tested
For free testing, call the Health Departments' Sickle Cell Coordinator at 919-731-1000.