TULSA, Okla. — September is sickle cell awareness month.
Organizers of the nonprofit, Supporters of Families With Sickle Cell Disease said while raising awareness of the disease is vital for families all year long, they use this national month to encourage families to get tested for the trait and spread hope for a potential cure.
Sickle cell disease gets its namesake from the farming tool called a sickle, which is shaped like a crescent moon. People who have sickle cell disease have some malformed blood cells that are shaped like a sickle, instead of being shaped like the normal “donut shape.”
These cells get stuck within the person's blood vessels and cause an array of issues including pain, loss of eyesight, stroke, and damage to the spleen, liver, and kidneys.
There is no cure for sickle cell anemia. The life expectancy for those with the trait is around three decades less than the average lifespan.
According to the American Society of Hematology, sickle cell anemia affects 100,000 Americans a year and about 3 million Americans have the sickle cell trait. Over 1,5000 Oklahomans are impacted by sickle cell disease and it’s estimated 40,000 Oklahomans may be unknowingly affected.
To learn more about how to get tested for the sickle cell trait, symptom maintenance resources, and how you can help find a cure, visit the Supporters of Families With Sickle Cell Disease website by clicking here.
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