Sickle Cell Disease Association
of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties
"Stamping Out the Sickle and Rounding Out the Cell"
Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder that affects approximately 80,000 Americans, mostly
those with ancestors from Africa, Spanish-speaking regions, the Mediterranean, India, and Saudi Arabia.
The disease is found in 1 out of 500 births among African-Americans and
1 out of 1,000-1,400 births among Hispanic-Americans. A genetic mutation causes normally smooth and
donut-shaped red blood cells to assume a stiff sickle conformation in individuals afflicted with the
disease. The sickle-shaped red blood cells get stuck in small blood vessels causing episodes of pain,
tissue and organ damage, which leads to serious medical conditions.
Many individuals do not suffer from the disease but carry the sickle cell trait. This is because carriers have
only one copy of the mutation (when a copy is inherited from both parents, disease results). The offspring
of carriers may be at risk for sickle cell disease if the other parent is a
carrier as well. There are approximately 2 million people in the United States who carry the sickle cell trait.
Sickle cell disease can be detected in newborns through a simple, inexpensive blood test. There are
currently 49 states and the District of Columbus that mandate the testing of sickle cell disease in
Sickle Cell Disease refers to a group of similar hemoglobin disorders. They differ in the type and severity
of health problems but all have an underlying issue with anemia and crescent-shaped cells.
3 most common types:
- Sickle Cell Anemia (Hemoglobin SS Disease)
- Sickle-Hemoglobin C Disease (Hemoglobin SC Disease)
- Sickle Beta-Thalassemia
Myth or Fact?
1. Myth: Sickle Cell Disease only affects blacks or African American.
Fact: Anyone can inherit Sickle Cell but it is most common in African-American due to its origin on the
continent of Africa.
2. Myth: Sickle Cell Trait is Sickle Cell Disease.
Fact: Sickle Cell Trait is not an illness, but in rare cases some persons have
experienced blood in their urine, and “crisis/pain episode” after exposure to high altitudes. Persons with
trait do have some sickle-shaped cells in there blood. Both parents must pass along the trait in order for a
child to have the disease
3. Myth: Sickle Cell is an STD.
Fact: Sickle Cell is an inherited disease. It is not transmitted sexually, nor is it
Commonly Used Terms:
Genes/Traits: Information in your body that you inherit from your parents. Genes or traits give your body
instructions on how to act. They control things such as eye color, height, size of you nose & ears, etc.
Anemia: A low number of healthy red blood cells
Hemoglobin: The protein in a red blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs and gives the cell its red
Blood Type: A letter used to identify a person’s blood, it can be A, B, AB, or O.
Blood Transfusion: Process used to transfer one person’s healthy blood to another person
Bone Marrow Transplant: A bone marrow transplant delivers healthy bone marrow stem cells into the
patient. It replaces bone marrow that is either not working properly or has been destroyed (ablated) by
chemotherapy or radiation.
Iron Overload: Extra Iron in the Body
Sickle Cell Disease and trait are inherited. This means its passed directly from Mom and Dad to their
children. People with Sickle Cell Trait will never get the disease but they can still pass along the genes to
Common Complications from Sickle Cell