Tag Archives: blood

Raising the Awareness Bar on Sickle Cell Trait and Sickle Cell Disease

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, let’s raise the awareness bar to highlight sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

 SCD is a blood disorder that causes sickling of the red blood cells, which diminishes the amount of oxygen the red blood cell can carry throughout the body. Persons who have SCD suffer from crises — episodes of intense and excruciating pain that may be in one or multiple parts of the body when sickle-shaped red blood cells become stuck in a blood vessel and cause a disruption of blood flow in that particular area. While people are most familiar with sickle cell anemia, other variations of sickle cell, or mutations, include sickle cell thalassemia, sickle beta thalassemia, and others.

What is Sickle Cell Trait?

 SCT results when a person inherits one sickle cell gene and one normal gene from either of their parents. Persons with sickle cell trait usually do not have any of the symptoms of SCD, but they can pass the trait on to their children.

How are SCT and SCD related?

 An individual who has SCD has a family history of SCT – meaning the person’s parent(s) have sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease. SCD is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes from each parent. For someone who has SCT, the likelihood of having a child that has SCD or SCT is different. If both parents have SCT, there is a 50 percent chance the child will have SCT, a 25 percent chance the child may have SCD, and a 25 percent chance the child will not have SCD or SCT.

SickleCellAwareness 2018

The urge to increase awareness on sickle cell trait and disease is apparent across several organizations.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new informational materials and videos of individuals’ personal experiences living with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait. To view these videos, visit cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/materials/video.html.

What is South Carolina’s response?

The South Carolina Sickle Cell Disease Advocacy Team (SCSCDAT) was established in 2017 with one common goal – to improve the treatment and care received by individuals and their families who have sickle cell disease. A multidisciplinary team comprised of physicians, hematologists, government agencies, non-profit organizations, healthcare management organizations, and individuals living with SCD and their family members, has been working on a statewide sickle cell disease plan to address the lack of resources to proficiently care and treat individuals of all ages living with sickle cell disease. The plan will help coordinate and improve collaboration in the areas of education, outreach, treatment, and funding.

Community-based organizations at work

Currently, DHEC maintains partnerships with four sickle cell community-based organizations — the James R. Clark Memorial Sickle Cell Foundation, the Louvenia D. Barksdale Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, the Orangeburg Area Sickle Cell Foundation and the COBRA Human Services Agency Sickle Cell Program. Through these partnerships, more people with sickle cell are able to obtain services and support. These organizations work to provide education, counseling, testing for sickle cell trait, and family support.

Although September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, increasing public and community knowledge about sickle cell is a 365-day initiative. Raise the awareness bar on sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease.

If you have questions about testing for you or your family, you can visit one of the four sickle cell community-based organizations. For more general information about sickle cell, visit cdc.gov/sicklecell or www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca.

DHEC in the News: HIV prevention, swimming advisory, vaccines

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

North Charleston HIV prevention group is reaching at-risk with free testing

A North Charleston HIV testing group recently began driving a van filled with blood tests, condoms and literature to a homeless shelter, a gay bar and local churches.

Despite the difference in these settings, the recently rebranded Palmetto Community Care is targeting each of the populations at these locations by offering HIV and hepatitis C tests outside the clinic’s walls.

Temporary swimming advisory issued in Myrtle Beach, DHEC says

Some sections of the beach in Myrtle Beach have been placed under a swimming advisory after high levels of bacteria were detected, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported.

General Interest
Opting out of vaccines leaves these US ‘hot spots’ most vulnerable for outbreaks

(CNN)A number of American states and metropolitan “hot spots” are vulnerable to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease, new research suggests. The reason? Children whose parents opted out of vaccination.

The risk of outbreaks is rising in 12 of the 18 states that permit nonmedical exemptions from childhood vaccinations, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. Those states are Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.

American Stroke Month

It’s American Stroke Month. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When this happens, part of your brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and starts to die.

Up to 80 percent of strokes may be preventable. Stroke is South Carolina’s third biggest killer. In 2012, 14,827 people were treated for stroke in South Carolina hospitals. The total cost of hospitalizations due to stroke in South Carolina in 2012 was $638 million.

Facts about strokes:

  • Strokes kill brain cells.
  • There are different types of strokes.
  • About 1 in 4 stroke survivors is at risk for another.
  • Prevention is key.
  • Time lost is brain lost.

DHEC in the News: Opioids, HIV, flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

What’s new with the opioid epidemic? You!

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) – It’s a story that keeps making headlines – the opioid addiction problem.

Every few days a news story highlights the growing number of those addicted and the deaths that come as a result.

A doctor at Lexington Medical Center says there is something new in the fight against the opioid problem. It’s you.

Lowcountry AIDS Services tested a record number of HIV positive people in January

A local nonprofit that provides free HIV testing is warning that it tested more people positive for the virus in January than in any other month in its 20-year history.

North Charleston-based Lowcountry AIDS Services says seven people tested positive in the month of January, the largest number in a single month. In contrast, no one tested positive in January 2017.

General Interest

Widespread flu causing large shortage in blood donations in South Carolina

The Blood Connection is appealing for donors because the flu is keeping regular donors at home.

“When donors are unable to keep their scheduled appointments because of the flu, the community blood supply drops,” said Dr. Robert Rainer, medical director at the agency.

National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

By Malerie Hartsell, MPH, CHES
Program Coordinator
Children with Special Health Care Needs

Did you know September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month?

Efforts to recognize Sickle Cell Month began in 1983 when the Congressional Black Caucus introduced the resolution to Congress.  President Reagan signed the resolution in August of 1983 making September National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.   Since then, organizations across the globe have increased public awareness surrounding this crippling illness.

By recognizing National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, more individuals are educated about the struggles that come along with daily management of this debilitating genetic disease. Increasing awareness is one way to debunk stereotypes and stigmas associated with persons who have sickle cell disease (SCD) and further highlights risk factors related to SCD, such as having the sickle cell trait (SCT).

What is SCD?  SCD is a blood disorder that causes sickling of the red blood cells, which diminishes the amount of oxygen the red blood cell can carry throughout the body.  sickle cellsPersons who have SCD suffer from crises — episodes of intense and excruciating pain that may be in one or multiple parts of the body when sickle-shaped red blood cells become stuck in a blood vessel and cause a disruption of blood flow in that particular area.  While people are most familiar with sickle cell anemia, other variations of sickle cell, or mutations, include sickle cell thalassemia, sickle beta thalassemia, and others.

Who is affected?  The actual number of persons living with SCD is unknown in the United States, but it is estimated that SCD affects approximately 100,000 people annually. Sickle cell disease also affects millions of people worldwide and it is more common among African-Americans.

What is SCT?  SCT is where a person inherits one sickle cell gene and one normal gene from either of their parents.  Persons with sickle cell trait  usually do not have any of the symptoms of SCD, but they can pass the trait on to their children.

How common is SCT? Sickle cell trait is an inherited blood disorder that affects 1 million to 3 million Americans and 8 to 10 percent of African-Americans. Sickle cell trait can also affect Hispanics, South Asians, Caucasians from southern Europe, and people from Middle Eastern countries. More than 100 million people worldwide have sickle cell trait. (Source: http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia/Sickle-Cell-Trait.aspx)

SCD and SCT are inherited conditions, which means a person may be born with the illness or trait.   SCD or SCT cannot develop overtime nor is it contagious.  SCD is inherited when a child receives two sickle cell genes from both parents. For someone that has SCT, the likelihood of having a child that has SCD or SCT is different.  If both parents have SCT, there is a 50 percent chance the child will have SCT, a 25 percent chance that child may have SCD, and 25 percent chance the child will not have SCD or SCT.sickle-cell-flow-chart

 Care and Treatment

Early diagnosis and monitoring can make a difference in the quality of life and number of years lived for someone with SCD.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Babies from birth to 1 year of age should see a doctor every two to three months.
  • Children from 1 to 2 years of age should see a doctor at least every three months.
  • Children and adults from 2 years of age or older should see a doctor at least once every year.

Persons with SCD should be referred to a hematologist or an experienced general pediatrician, internist, or family practitioner.

Currently, only hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) can cure SCD; however, this is very intensive treatment and not everyone qualifies or can afford this treatment.  To help prevent complications and medicate the acute or chronic pain episodes as they occur, hematologist will start children on daily doses of penicillin at birth up until at least 5 years of age.  Blood transfusions are utilized to help reduce the risk of stroke.  Additionally, hydroxyurea, a drug that increase the levels of fetal hemoglobin has helped reduce pain, hospitalizations, and lung damage.

Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about sickle cell. You also can find information on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute site.