Sickle Cell: Dr. Althea Grant Answers Your Questions

    Vials of blood in a silver holder

    Sickle cell occurs in about 1 in every 500 African-American births. About 2 million Americans, or 1 in 12 African Americans, carry the sickle cell trait.

    BlackDoctor.org was honored to host a sickle cell Q&A session featuring Dr. Althea Grant, the CDC’s Chief of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch in the Division of Blood Disorders, NCBDDDThe dialogue was both engaging and extremely informative, and we’d like to thank both Dr. Grant and everyone who took the time to ask questions.

    Below is a recap of this exciting information session:

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    Question: Why do so many people with sickle cell have to have so many blood transfusions? Isn’t that unhealthy?

    Answer: Transfusions are used for treating some of the complications of sickle cell disease like worsening anemia and are used as a treatment to prevent strokes in patients with sickle cell disease whose medical tests suggest that they are at high risk of having a stroke. Read more…

    Question: “If I’m healthy now, can I still contract sickle cell disease or the trait?”

    Answer: Sickle cell disease or trait cannot be spread to another person like a cold. Also, sickle cell trait will not become sickle cell disease. You must be born with sickle cell disease or trait. Read more

    Question: I had an aunt that passed from sickle cell complications when I was young, what are the major issues somebody with sickle cell has to worry about to keep healthy?

    Answer: The most important thing is to get regular health care, see your doctor regularly, keep a good diet, exercise, and drink plenty of water. For more, see our Living Well Toolkit.

    Question: I have the trait, my older son does not, but my younger daughter does. Why did the trait skip?

    Answer: If you have trait, there is a 50% chance of passing trait onto your child for each pregnancy. Read more…

    Question: I was born with sickle cell trait and was always told there are no symptoms or health concerns. Has that changed?

    Answer: CDC Most people with SCT do not have any symptoms of SCD, although — in rare cases — people with SCT might have complications of SCD, such as problems with their spleen, as well as an inability to concentrate urine and, in extreme circumstances, sudden exercise-related death. Read more…

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