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What Is Sickle Cell?
Most Common FAQ’s
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, Cuba). 1 in every 100 Hispanics has the trait. 1 in every 1000 Hispanics has sickle cell disease.
- It also affects people from another regions; India, Saudi Arabia and the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Turkey).
There are several types of sickle cell disease. The most common are:
- Sickle Cell Anemia (SS)
- Sickle C Disease (SC)
- Sickle Beta-Plus Thalassemia (SB+)
- Sickle Beta-Zero Thalassemia (SBO)
People with Sicle Cell trait inherit a normal hemoglobin gene (Hb A) from one parent, and a Sickle hemoglobin gene (Hb S) from the other parent. This results in hemoglobin AS or Sickle Cell trait. A person with Sickle Cell trait may also be called a Sickle Cell carrier.
Sickle Cell trait is not a disease. It does not turn into Sicle Cell Disease/Anemia. It is not contagious. People with Sickle Cell trait are not sick. They can lead normal lives and have minimal medical problems due to Sickle Cell trait. For a few people, painful episodes may occur if they fly in unpressurized planes at high altitudes. Some people with Sickle Cell trait may occasionally have blood in their urine. If these problems occur, a physician should be notified.
Counseling and education regarding the Sickle Cell trait are important because the sickle gene can be passed to any carrier’s children.