Since 2008 when the United Nations designated June 19 World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, it has increased public knowledge and raised awareness of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), its prevention and the struggles sufferers and their families go through.
Sickle cell is a disease in which the red blood cells have a significantly reduced capacity to carry and distribute oxygen to every part of the body.
It is important for everyone to know their genotype before considering getting into a relationship that may likely lead to marriage to avoid facing the many challenges of raising a sickle cell child or children.
For already married couples whose genotype is AS, it is important they test the genotype of every child they have at birth. This will help them prepare on how to raise any child with sickle cell disease in the best possible way.
Below are 5 things you Should Know about Sickle Cell
- Sickle cell disease (SCD) is common throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, affecting up to 3% of births in some parts of the continent. Nigeria has one of the largest population of people with sickle cell disorder, with about 150,000 births annually
- People are born with sickle cell disease; it does not develop in adulthood, and it is not contagious. Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder that is passed down from parent to child. To have the disease, both sets of parents must carry what is known as the sickle cell trait. If both parents have this trait, there is a 25 percent chance that their child will have sickle cell disease
- Sickle cell disease is chronic but treatable and is not a death sentence. Twenty years ago, children with sickle cell disease rarely lived to become adults. Today, the outlook for patients with the disease has improved significantly. Thanks to new treatments and therapies, many people with the disease are now living into their 40s and 50s
- Sickle cell disease affects people of many different races. Sickle cell disease is often thought of as a disease affecting blacks, and a majority of patients (researchers estimate 60 to 80%) are of African origins, but other races are affected. People of Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic and Mediterranean heritage are also commonly affected
- Patients with sickle cell disease require comprehensive care. Since sickle cell disease is a chronic illness that affects many systems in the body, it is essential that children and adults have a system of care that includes primary care physicians, haematologists, paediatricians and social workers
For more advice and help, feel free to consult a doctor online via The Reliance Care App.