Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition that causes a lifelong anemia (low blood count). This happens because of a change in the makeup of the hemoglobin (a protein in the red blood cells) which carries oxygen to the body.
What happens with Sickle Cell Disease?
Normal red blood cells are shaped like a doughnut which allows them to squeeze through small blood vessels. In sickle cell disease, red blood cells are sickle shaped, unbending and block small.
How common is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle cell disease affects millions of people worldwide. It affects over 70,000 people in the U.S.
Is most common among people of African descent. 1 in every 12 African Americans has the trait. 1 in every 400 has sickle cell disease.
It also affects people from Spanish speaking regions--South and Central America, and Cuba. 1 in every 100 Hispanics has the trait. 1 in every 1,000 Hispanics has sickle cell disease.
It also affects people from another regions--India, Saudi Arabia and the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Turkey).
Types of Sickle Cell Disease?
There are several types of sickle cell disease. The most common are: