September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month!

*picture from Augusta University

What is sickle cell anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cells in the body. Instead of the spherical shape of regular red blood cells, sickle cell anemia causes red blood cells to sickle and change shape into a crescent moon. 

Why is this a problem?

Sickled red blood cells can block the veins and cause a blockage to blood flow resulting in a sickle cell crisis. A sickle cell crisis can cause severe pain to those that are experiencing it as it restricts not only blood flow but oxygen flow as well. 

What causes a sickle cell crisis?

Stress, poor diet, change in altitudes, colder climates, infections, dehydration, strenuous exercise, etc. 

Who does sickle cell affect?

Sickle cell anemia primary effects those of Africa and the Diaspora population. According to, approximately 70,000 to 100,000 Americans have sickle cell anemia. According to the CDC, sickle cell anemia affects millions of people. Lastly, sickle cell anemia occurs in 1 out of 365 Black or African-American births while 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies are born with the sickle cell trait. 

What can we do to help?

Get tested to know if you are a trait carrier, donate blood and bone marrow, donate money to research, educate yourself and spread awareness about sickle cell anemia, and help those you know who have sickle cell anemia in any way you can.

Some Resources & Link about sickle cell anemia:

American Academy of Family Physicians
Tips for preventing a sickle cell crisis

American College of Emergency Physician’s SCD Coalition
Information about emergency care for people with SCD

American Sickle Cell Anemia Association
Information and support groups

American Society of Hematology’s SCD Initiative
SCD education, research, and policy resources

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Sickle Cell Center
Sickle cell school outreach tools and educational resources

Clinical Trials
Up-to-date information on sickle cell disease clinical research trials

Information about sickle cell anemia.

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Sickle cell information, tips for healthy living, and resources

Sickle Cell Adult Providers Network
A network for healthcare providers who serve adults with sickle cell disease

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America
Information, news, research, and resources

Sickle Cell Information Center
Information about SCD; resources for patients, families, and health care providers; research; clinical trials; news; and books