Is Someone You Know Impacted By Sickle Cell Disease? Chances Are The Answer Is, “Yes”!

A CALL TO ACTION

*Author’s Note: I decided to dedicate today’s post to Sickle Cell Awareness Month.  Please read and share.

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a little known killer of people of African descent. So if it’s a killer, it should be a big concern. But it’s not!!! Or at least we don’t talk about it and educate ourselves about it like we should.
That said, September is Sickle Cell Awareness month.

SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/index.html)

Why does this matter? Red blood cells have the VERY important job of transporting oxygen from our lungs to all the various parts of our bodies and moving all of that carbon dioxide in our bodies back to our lungs to be breathed out of our bodies.  If our red blood cells aren’t functioning properly that’s a big problem for our health.

Now here’s the part that is gonna knock your socks off.  While the Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) is more common among people whose ancestors come from Africa, the Mediterranean region, Middle East and South Asia, ANYONE can have SCT.

1 in 12 blacks/African Americans in the United States has SCT.

(Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/documents/factsheet_sickle_cell_trait.pdf)

This isn’t abstract, this isn’t new, but it is very real and we all need to be better informed on this disease for our own sake as well as for those who we love.

Do you know your status?  If not, check this out so you can learn how to find out.  http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/documents/factsheet_scicklecell_status.pdf

If your answer to the question posed in this title was, “No” then I have to correct you because you know me and I have been impacted by Sickle Cell Disease.  I have family members who carry the SCT.  I also have friends who live with this disease and so do you.

So I am asking all who take the time to read this, wherever you might be, to kindly share this information to lend support to all of those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just need to know that someone cares that they are affected by SCD? Do it for all of us, for it could be somebody that you love or a friend of someone that you know.

A large number of people with sickle cell commit suicide because they believe that everyone would be better off without them, from loneliness, despair, and most of all pain and mistreatment.  We should NOT have to wait for a celebrity to launch a campaign about this disease before we share the information with our social networks.  Each of us can reach out to the people we know to raise awareness and help those who need us.

~ Marta C. Youngblood

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