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Patient Education

What is sickle cell disease (SCD)?

  • Sickle cell disease refers to a group of inherited diseases that are characterized by the presence of abnormal, “sickle” hemoglobin and that are capable of producing vaso-occlusive complications.

Who is affected by sickle cell disease?

  • Sickle cell disease is found throughout the world. In addition to the United States, it is frequently found in parts of Africa, the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean region.
  • In the United States, sickle cell disease predominantly affects individuals of African descent and Latinos.
  • Approximately 1 out of every 400 African-Americans has sickle cell disease.
  • Roughly 80,000 people with sickle cell disease live in the United States
  • Each year in North Carolina, over 100 infants are born with sickle cell disease.

What are the characteristics of sickle cell disease?

  • The most common features of sickle cell disease are fatigue and acute painful episodes.
  • Sickle cell disease can affect virtually every organ in the body
  • Despite the presence of this disorder, many individuals with sickle cell disease are able to lead full, happy and productive lives

What can be done for sickle cell disease?

  • Whenever possible, individuals with sickle cell disease should receive medical care from healthcare providers who understand the disease and who are experts in its management.

Medical Students/Residents:

Hemoglobinopathy Rotation