Sickle Cell Anemia- a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body. Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, affecting 70,000 to 80,000 Americans. The disease is estimated to occur in 1 in 500 African Americans and 1 in 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanic Americans.
Sickle Cell is passed down by blood, it mostly effects African Americans in the U.S.
People effected by this disease usually start noticing signs in early childhood. Some symptoms are a low number of red blood cells, repeated infections, and multiple episodes of pain.
A blood test can check for hemoglobin S which is the defective form of hemoglobin that underlies sickle cell anemia. In the United States, this blood test is part of routine newborn screening done at the hospital. But older children and adults can be tested also.
To treat sickle cell you need a have a Bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell transplant, this offers the only potential cure for sickle cell anemia. It's usually reserved for people younger than age 16 because the risks increase for people older than 16.
You can't really prevent this disease from happening, but you can see a genetic counselor to find out if your children will get Sickle Cell.