Overview for World Sickle Cell Day


World Sickle Cell Day is June 19th each year. This important health observance, created by the United Nations and World Health Organization,  recognizes sickle cell anemia as a public health problem – among the world’s foremost, and at times most lethal, genetic diseases.

Consider these top 10 facts about sickle cell disease:

  1. Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States.
  2. An estimated 100,000 Americans have this serious disease.
  3. Sickle cell disease does not just affect the black population. It affects other ethnicities, as well. Globally, millions are affected whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa; Spanish-speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere (South America, the Caribbean, and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy.
  4. Typical life expectancy for people living with sickle cell disease is only 45 years.
  5. Sickle cell disease is present at birth, and babies with this disease start to show symptoms at 4 to 5 months of age when the red blood cells begin to sickle.
  6. About 1 in 13 Black babies is born with sickle cell trait in the U.S. and the disease occurs in about 1 out of every 365 Black births in the U.S.
  7. Sickled cells block blood flow, decrease oxygen delivery and can cause extremely painful “crisis” episodes, without warning.
  8. Severe “crisis” is described as sharp, intense, stabbing, throbbing, and more uncomfortable than post-surgical pain or childbirth.
  9. Blocked blood flow deprives organs of blood and oxygen, and chronic deprivation of oxygen-rich blood can damage the body’s nerves and organs – including the kidneys, liver and spleen. Organ damage can be fatal.
  10. Four of every ten sickle cell disease patients treated in a hospital for pain or other problems have to be readmitted for treatment again within 30 days, and many need emergency room care within 30 days of being discharged from a hospital.

Tosin Ola, BSN, RN has partnered with Mast Therapeutics to raise awareness of this debilitating and deadly disease.



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