Sickle cell is a blood disorder that affects red blood cells and causes them to assume an abnormal sickle shape. These sickle-shaped cells block small blood vessels, which can prevent tissue from getting proper blood flow. Blocked blood vessels can lead to spleen, lung, and heart damage, as well as stroke.
There are four types of sickle cell:
- Sickle Cell Anemia - Caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S.
- Sickle-Hemoglobin C Disease – A “mild” form of sickle cell anemia that is caused by a problem with the gene called beta globin.
- Sickle Beta-Plus Thalassemia – A "mild" form of sickle cell disease in which the red blood cells contain an abnormal hemoglobin called hemoglobin S and a small amount of the normal hemoglobin called hemoglobin A.
- Sickle Beta-Zero Thalassemia – A form of sickle cell disease in which the red blood cells contain an abnormal hemoglobin called hemoglobin S or sickle hemoglobin.
Here are some other facts about sickle cell:
- It affects 1 in every 375 African-American children in the U.S.
- It is most common in areas of the world where mosquito-born Malaria is present.
- A quarter million children around the world are born with the disease each year.
- Sickle cell traits are inherited from parents just like blood type and hair color.
This video shares information on sickle cell disease:
National Sickle Cell Awareness Month raises awareness about the disease and promotes finding a cure for people around the world who have it.
To learn more about this disease please visit http://www.sicklecelldisease.org/.
To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.