Sickle cell disease occurs when a person inherits two abnormal copies of the hemoglobin gene, one from each parent. Several subtypes exist, depending on the exact mutation in each hemoglobin gene. A person with a single abnormal copy may not experience symptoms and is said to have sickle cell trait. The complications of sickle cell disease can be prevented to a large extent with vaccination, preventative antibiotics, blood transfusion, and the drug hydroxyurea. A small proportion requires a transplant of bone marrow cells.
This disorder is common in the African-descended population of the United States and Canada. It affects millions of people around the world, mainly those whose ancestors come from sub-Saharan Africa, Spanish-speaking regions (South America, Cuba, Central America), Saudi Arabia, India, and Mediterranean countries (Turkey, Greece, and Italy).
Links & Resources
Centre hospitalier pour enfants de l’est de l’Ontario
L’Association d’Anémie Falciforme Du Canada
Sickle Cell Disease Association of America
Sickle Cell Association of Ontario
Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario