Sickle Cell Disease
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Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is hard to cure and heavily impacts the Black community. We have seen the complications of SCD plague and take the lives of our loved ones.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans. SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births. SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births. About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT).
SCD is a genetic condition that is present at birth. It is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent.
People with SCD start to have signs of the disease during the first year of life, usually around 5 months of age. Symptoms and complications of SCD are different for each person and can range from mild to severe.
Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.
There is no single best treatment for all people with SCD. Treatment options are different for each person depending on the symptoms.The only cure for SCD is bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Bone marrow or stem cell transplants are very risky, and can have serious side effects, including death. For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must be a close match. Usually, the best donor is a brother or sister. Bone marrow or stem cell transplants are used only in cases of severe SCD for children who have minimal organ damage from the disease.
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