Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)?
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. In SCD, the red blood cells become sticky and hard and appears as a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle.” People who have SCD can live full lives and enjoy most of the activities that other people do. Although if you have SCD, it is important to learn how to stay as healthy as possible.
Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) means when a child inherits one sickle cell gene (“S”) from one parent and one normal gene (“A”) from the other. People with SCT usually do not show any of the signs of the disease and live a normal life, but they can pass the trait on to their children.
The cause of SCD is a genetic condition that is present at birth. The disease is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes—one from each parent.
SCD can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. More often than not it is found at birth in the hosptial during routine newborn screening tests. Additionally, SCD can be diagnosed before birth. As children with SCD are at an increased risk of infection and other health problems, early diagnosis and treatment are important. Your can call your local sickle cell organization to find out how to get tested.
Children with SCD start to have signs during the first year of life, usually around 5 months of age. Complications and symptoms of SCD are different for each person and can range from mild to severe.
The only known cure for SCD is bone marrow or stem cell transplant. A bone marrow or stem cell transplant is a procedure that takes healthy cells that form blood from one person (the donor) and puts them into someone whose bone marrow is not working as it should. Bone marrow or stem cell transplants are very risk, with serious side effects such as death. The bone marrow must be a close match for the transplant to work. Generally, the best donor is a brother or sister. Bone marrow or stem cell transplants are used solely in cases of severe SCD for children who have had minimal organ damage from the disease.
If you are living with SCD, resources such as tips for healthy living, emergency guides, and others can be found on the SCD section of the CDC website.
Go here to learn more: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/index.html