About sickle cell dis­ease

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

■ About 100,000 Amer­i­cans suf­fer from sickle cell dis­ease, although mil­lions around the world have it, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates from the na­tional Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

■ The sickle shape of red blood cells caused by sickle cell dis­ease die ear­lier and can get clogged in small blood ves­sels.

■ Women with sickle cell dis­ease tend to have more prob­lems with preg­nancy, in­clud­ing pain episodes and in­creased risk of de­liv­er­ing a pre­ma­ture or low birth-weight baby.

■ Most peo­ple with sickle cell dis­ease start show­ing symp­toms at about 5 months old. The only sure so­lu­tion is a bone trans­plant, which can have com­pli­ca­tions and may lead to death, although there is med­i­ca­tion that can al­le­vi­ate or re­duce com­pli­ca­tions of the dis­ease.

■ Mor­tal­ity rates for chil­dren with sickle cell are down sig­nif­i­cantly, and the av­er­age life ex­pectancy of some­one with sickle cell is 42 years for males and 48 years for fe­males, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Na­tional Cen­ter for Biotech­nol­ogy In­for­ma­tion.

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