Facts About SICKLE CELL DISEASE (SCD)

Zoo Walk 2008 with SCCF posters and SCCF Board Members in the background, and SCDAA Member Debra Jackson and co-worker speaking with Mr. Ed Williams in the foreground.

Zoo Walk 2008 with SCCF posters and SCCF Board Member Gary Bricker in the background, and SCDAA Member Debra Jackson (center) and co-workers in the foreground.

In the United States, SCD affects primarily people of African descent. But this pattern of prevalence is changing, with increasing numbers with SCD being found among Hispanics, Native Americans and Caucasians. SCD affects a large percentage of people in Central America as well as significant numbers in the Carribean and in South American countries such as Brazil. In the Mediterranean countries, SCD is found in people of Portuguese and Spanish descent, as well as in French Corsicans, Sardinians, Sicilians, mainland Italians, Greeks, Turks and Cypriots. Prevalence is increasing in other European countries such as France, Germany, and the UK, due to both to newborns (new incidence) as well as migration from African countries. Sickle cell disease also affects large numbers of people in Middle Eastern countries, Indian and Asia. And approximately 70 percent of the global number of SCD cases are in Africa. SCD is the most frequently occurring genetic disease on earth.

Approximately 1 in 12 African-Americans are carriers of the Sickle Cell Trait. Many more are afflicted worldwide.

The average life expectancy of someone who suffers from SCD in America is about 40 years. Where treatments are not readily available, they often die in early childhood. In underdeveloped countries, 60-to-80 percent of babies`with SCD die before two years of age.

SCD causes lung tissue damage, pain episodes and stroke. The blockage of blood flow caused by sickled cells also causes damage to most organs including the spleen, kidneys and liver.

People who suffer from SCD have mostly hemoglobin S, an abnormal form of hemoglobin. However, all people are born with hemoglobin F, or fetal hemoglobin, which does not sickle. Normally, by six months of age, hemoglobin F expression switches to hemoglobin A, normal hemoglobin, or in the case of someone who suffers from SCD, hemoglobin S.

The Sickle Cell Cure Foundations’s cure is based on introducing a protein that causes a reversal of this switch, from HbS back to HbF. There are some people in whom this occurs naturally, and they do not suffer any of the symptoms of sickle cell disease.

http://www.bu.edu/sicklecell/research.html
http://www.sicklecelldisease.org
http://www.curesicklecell.org
http://sickle.bwh.harvard.edu/scd_history.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/2/l_012_02.html
http://www.umm.edu/blood/sickle.htm
http://www.innvista.com/health/ailments/anemias/sickhist.htm

Comments

  1. Daniel Jordan says:

    My name is daniel, my father has sickle cell sc and he is 48 years old, i am 15 years old and i love my dad very much, my dad is very healthy and gets out to excercise alot but he does experience shoulder pain and is thinking about getting a new metal one put in, i was wodering what might help my dad to feel better and if there are any really special medicines that will help

    • Dear Daniel,
      I hope that your father is getting the best medical care available in your area. We are doing reserach to get a very good treatment available as soon as possible. We are fortunate to have a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this year for animal trials (mice) on our treatment for preventiuon of malaria and a cure for sickle cell. We hope to begin human clinical trials, which are required to know if it is safe, in about a year. I wish you and your father the very best.
      Sincerely,
      Robert H. Broyles, PhD
      SCCF President

  2. hi my name is osas.my girlfriend isa sickle cell patient and she i just 19 years old

    most of her life she has not fallen so ill or hospitalised only the regular headaches and boby pain..

    i want to know what will be her challenges as a wife and mother to be… thank you

  3. Irono Okezika Nnaemeka says:

    Dear, complimentz with luv, we were born three sicklers/sufferers with with others in my family, Two of the other sufferers are no more am the only remaining. I will be 27 this year march. I hardly be in pains but i know of other sufferers who are always in pains, many have died, some are living in fear and in aworld of complex. Please is there any thing you can help me do to show luv to the surviving sufferers, empower them, and raise ahigh standard of awareness campaign on the cause, prevention and home treatment of this sickness. Am from Nigeria Imo state In partecular. And in this Part of Nigeria is only two sickle cell foundations although there services are not strong and are not wild spread. Please help show luv to sufferers in this part of the world. Sufferers in this part of the world are treared as outcast, there parents do not send them to school due to fair that they might die at any time some are nit being taking good care of. Spread youe tentacles, Give someone a reason to live.

    Here are my contacts if you Wish to come to Nigeria
    Irono Okezika Nnaemeka
    tizoonblacky@yahoo.com
    +2348035451581.

    Cheers

    • Dear Irono Okezika Nnaemeka,
      Thak you very much for your comment and story. The suffering that you, your relatives, and your friends have experienced makes me sad. The best way to spread the word of hope is through the internet. Please tell everyoe of ourwebsite.
      All the best,
      Robert H. Broyles, PhD
      SCCF President/Lead Scientist

  4. My name is Steven and I am writing on behalf of my late brother in law and best friend Isaac Flores. Isaac was reffered to as ‘Superman’ by his local doctors due to his unique form of the disease and his ability to overcome crisis after crisis during his 43 years of life. Isaac passed away on 6/3/11 of a stroke related to SCD. He left behind a loving wife two children, three step children, eleven brothers and sisters (one of whom also suffers from SCD) a loving mother and a countless number of friends. Most of all he left behind a legacy of love and compassion unequaled by most. He was a devoted Paramedic and instructor, hunter, fisherman and all arourd lover of the outdoors. We love what the SCCF is doing and we hope that through their efforts we can end the suffering caused by this horrible illness. Keep up the good work. His wife has asked that instead of flowers and cards given in sympathy for the loss of Isaac, donations to the SCCF and blood donations be given in his name. It is what he wld have wanted. Thank you guys for all that you are doing to try and prevent the suffering of all affected by SCD.

  5. Hi,i have a close friend that is a carrier of sickle cell disease and he’s just 21 years old.please i want to know if he won’t die on me soon?we are treating him and he gets his medication on time.please he’s very close to me

    • Dear Fikayo,
      Your friend who is a carrier of sickle cell should have a much easier time than one who has both copies of the gene which is sickle cell disease (SCD). I hope that he will have a long and full life.
      I wish you and he the best,
      Robert H. Broyles, PhD
      SCCF President/Lewad Scientist

  6. Hey My Name Is D’zarea Scales And I Have SCD I Hope I Dont Die Soon I Have To Much To Look Foward To I Am 14 Years Old :(

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