Sickle Cell Trait Tied to Higher Kidney Failure Risk for Blacks

Black people with a trait for sickle cell anemia appear to have double the risk of kidney failure that requires dialysis, a new research suggests.

“Although you cannot change the genes you are born with, doctors can use this information to start screening for kidney disease earlier and to aggressively treat any other risk factors you may have such as diabetes or high blood pressure,” said study co-leader Dr. Rakhi Naik. She’s an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorder that affects hemoglobin – the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen through the blood. This disease causes the hemoglobin to form in a sickle shape instead of the normal rounded disc shape, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

To have sickle cell anemia, a person must inherit the gene from both parents. Someone who only has the gene from one parent is said to have a trait for sickle cell, but they won’t have symptoms of