Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that affects hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through the body. Normally, red blood cells are circular and flexible to move easily through the blood vessels.
If you have sickle cell disease, your red blood cells are crescent or “sickle” shaped. These cells do not bend and move easily and can block blood flow to the rest of your body.
The blocked blood flow through the body can lead to serious problems, including stroke, eye problems, infections and episodes of pain, called pain crises.
Sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 Americans, many of whom are African American, and over 20 million people worldwide.
As a sickle cell patient, I know all too well the ill affects this disease brings.
Not long-ago individuals born with Sickle Cell Disease faced unimaginable and often insurmountable challenges in their lives because little was known about the disease, traditional medical care provided to patients was often poor, inconsistent and life expectancy was short.
As a result, many patients, families and care givers grew discouraged and suspicious.
And many began to resent the inconsistencies in traditional medical care as they felt they were left lingering in the shadows while attempting to figure out how to manage the severity of reoccurring crisis pain and how to mitigate the residual and accumulative physical and emotional effects of a disease that threatens any attempt at living a normal life.
This suspicion and resentment have given birth to generations of patients who have