World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is celebrated on June 19th of each year to raise the public awareness about the sickle cell disease and its treatment methods. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited genetic abnormality of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells). This abnormality causes stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body. Normally, red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky. Red blood cells can live up to 120 days before the body needs to replace them, while sickle cells last only 10 to 20 days causing anemia because of red blood cells disorder.

SCD has many symptoms, including severe anemia, episodes of pain, in addition to a range of complications, most prominently: dizziness, acute chest syndrome (ACS) that causes chest pain, heart failure, chronic kidney disease (CKD), pulmonary hypertension, gallstones, splenomegaly, Immunodeficiency, Joint damage especially in the hip joint, stroke or paralysis, foot ulcers, retinopathy, endocrine disorders, and delayed puberty.

The only possible cure for the disorder is bone marrow transplant but this is only possible for a limited number of affected individuals who have a suitable donor. A medicine called Hydroxyurea, can significantly reduce the number of painful crises.

This World Sickle Cell Day, the Sickle Cell Society will be celebrating 40 years of supporting the sickle cell community. First set up as a registered charity in 1979, the Sickle Cell Society works alongside health care professionals, parents, and people living with sickle cell to raise awareness of the disorder. The Society’s aim is to support those living with sickle cell, empowering them to achieve their full potential.



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