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Sickle Cell Anemia Predominant Among African Americans

Posted by on February 8th, 2018

“Sickle Cell Anemia 2.” Via medlineplus.gov, November 7, 2017, Public Domain

With February being African American History Month, we wanted to focus our blog posts on health issues unique or more likely to impact African Americans.  One of these diseases is sickle cell anemia and this trait can be found in about 1 in 13 African American births.

MedlinePlus defines sickle cell anemia as “a disease in which your body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. The cells are shaped like a crescent or sickle. They don’t last as long as normal, round red blood cells. This leads to anemia. The sickle cells also get stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause pain and organ damage.”

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is present at birth and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states “every state in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories requires that all newborn babies receive screening for SCD. When a child has SCD, parents are notified before the child has symptoms.”  If symptoms do occur, it is usually not until 5 or 6 months of age.

The CDC estimates:

  • 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).

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