Sickle Cell Awareness!

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a serious, lifelong condition which can affect anyone, however it mainly affects people of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean and Asian origin. SCD is an inherited condition and those with the disease produce unusual shaped red blood cells, which can cause problems.

The main symptoms include anaemia and painful episodes called sickle cell cries, which occurs when the cells change shape after oxygen is released, these then cause the red blood cells to stick together making blockages in the small blood vessels.

Treatments available

Those with SCD will need specialist care throughout their lives, however there are a number of treatments available to help manage problems.

  • Standard painkillers can help reduce pain, although sometimes stronger painkillers may be necessary.
  • Pain can also be prevented by staying warm and hydrated.
  • Daily antibiotics may need to be taken to reduce the risk of infection and you should ensure that you are fully vaccinated.
  • Those who suffer with severe anaemia may need a blood transfusion.
  • Stem cell or bone marrow transplants can possibly cure sickle cell disease, however this is rare as there are significant risks involved.

5 Sickle Cell facts from the Sickle Cell Society - Did you know?

  1. 1 in 76 babies born in the UK carry sickle cell trait.
  2. Approximately 15,000 people in the UK have sickle cell disorder.
  3. SCD is inherited from both parents and sickle cell trait is inherited from one parent.
  4. A simple blood test can tell whether you have sickle cell trait or the disorder.
  5. Children with SCD are at an increased risk for stroke, the risk is highest between the ages of 2 and 16.

What can you do to help?

Those with SCD may need regular blood transfusions and that’s why giving blood is so important. Register here, check you are eligible to donate and book an appointment, it really is that easy and you could make a huge difference to someone’s life.

If you are looking for private health insurance, then look no further! We have a range of policies to suit all needs and budgets and to top that off we’ll also give you access to our free Health and Wellbeing service, meaning you can get advice and support from a team of doctors, nurses, counsellors and specialists 24/7. Click the link below for your free, no-obligation quote.

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About the author

Paige Harrison, is our brilliant Content Marketing Executive here at General & Medical.