World Sickle Cell Day – June 19

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World Sickle Cell Day is an observance recognized by the United Nations to increase the awareness of the disease at both national and international levels. The United Nations General Assembly appropriated a declaration that labeled sickle cell disease a public health problem. The decision encourages members to advance awareness of the disease on June 19th of each year.

What is Sickle Cell?

More than 300,000 children are born with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) globally every year. The disease is a genetic anomaly of the red blood cells that gives them curved or sickle-like features. A sizable number of these children die before the age of five.

Sickle cell is a genetic condition, which means it is hereditary; it isn't contagious. Click To Tweet

SCD disorders are a group of illnesses that affect the red blood cells. SCD affects the round and flexible blood cells, making them hard and sickle-shaped. This prevents the blood cells and the oxygen they carry from moving freely around the body, resulting in discomfort. Powerful painkillers like morphine can help manage the pain.

Nigeria has the highest burden of Sickle cell disorders in the world.

SCD disorders can cause damage to vital organs like the liver, kidney, lungs, heart, and spleen. Complications of the disorder can also lead to death. Treatment focuses on prevention and treating complications.

Symptoms

  • Painful Episodes (crises)

Pain and swelling in the affected area is a common occurrence when blood vessels are blocked.

  • Fatigue

People with SCD tire quickly and experience weakness.

  • Jaundice

The whites of the eyes and the skin can develop a yellow hue.

Facts about the SCD

According to the Sickle Cell Society, here are some facts about the disease.

  • SCD is gotten from both parents; while SCD trait is gotten from one parent.
  • SCD can affect anyone, although it mainly afflicts people with African and Caribbean origins.
  • People living with SCD are in a very vulnerable group and are at risk during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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