September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month!
September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, bringing attention to a struggle that many Americans face but is not widely understood. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that affects approximately 70,000 to 100,000 Americans. While the disease is most common among those of African descent, it can be diagnosed in people of other races and ethnicities. One in twelve African Americans carry a sickle cell gene, but only when both parents have the trait are children at risk to develop sickle cell disease. Still today, many people are left to battle the disease alone because of where they live or lack of access to care.
Indeed, it is a battle, and it is painful. Problems are caused by irregularly shaped blood cells that can slow or block blood flow and oxygen in the body. Without sufficient blood flow, a person may experience extreme discomfort in their chest, abdomen, joints, and bones and is more prone to infections.
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