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  • Do individuals with sickle cell disease need to have their vision checked more often than people who do not have sickle cell disease?
    Vision loss, including blindness, can occur when blood vessels in the eye become blocked with sickle cells, and the retina (the thin layer of tissue inside the back of the eye) gets damaged. People with Sickle Cell Disease should have their eyes checked every year to look for damage to the retina. If possible, this should be done by an eye doctor who specializes in diseases of the retina. If the retina is damaged, laser treatment often can prevent further vision loss.
  • What is the sickle cell trait?
    People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have Sickle Cell Trait. People with Sickle Cell Trait usually do not have any of the symptoms of sickle cell disease (SCD), but they can pass the trait on to their children.
  • I have Sickle Cell Trait, does that mean I will get Sickle Cell Disease?
    Sickle Cell Trait is not a disease, and it will not change into Sickle Cell Disease. The trait is not life-threatening and people with the trait do not have physical abnormalities, usually do not have symptoms, and lead a normal life span.
  • What are the signs that my child may have Sickle Cell Disease?
    Children begin to show signs of the disease during their first year of life, usually around 5 months old. Early symptoms include jaundice, fatigue and painful swelling of the hands and feet.
  • Is Sickle Cell Disease contagious?
    No. Sickle Cell Disease is inherited and is not contagious. You can not catch Sickle Cell Disease.
  • Can a woman with Sickle Cell Disease have a healthy pregnancy?
    Yes, with early prenatal care and careful monitoring throughout the pregnancy, a woman with Sickle Cell Disease can have a healthy pregnancy. However, women with Sickle Cell Disease are more likely to have problems during pregnancy that can affect their health and that of their unborn baby. Therefore, they should be seen often by their obstetrician, hematologist, or primary care provider. • During pregnancy, SCD can become more severe and pain episodes can occur more frequently. • A pregnant woman with SCD is at a higher risk of preterm labor and of having a low-birth-weight baby.
  • Can a woman with Sickle Cell Trait have a healthy pregnancy?
    Women who have Sickle Cell Trait can have a healthy pregnancy. • Pregnant women with Sickle Cell Trait also should be monitored by their obstetrician or primary care provider for the same health complications as for all pregnant women.
  • Does having Sickle Cell Trait (SCT), affect my future children?
    Yes. If your mate also carries Sickle Cell Trait you have a 25 percent chance of having a child with Sickle Cell Disease, a 50 percent change of having a child with Sickle Cell Trait, and a 25 percent chance of having a child without Sickle Cell Trait or Sickle Cell Disease. Therefore, it is critical that you and your spouse/partner get tested for sickle cell and other abnormal hemoglobin before you plan on having a child.
  • What is Sickle Cell Disease?
    Sickle Cell Disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.
  • How do I get tested?
    Sickle cell testing is conducted by appointment at the Sickle Cell Foundation’s certified Clinical Laboratory. Call 404-755-1641 to schedule your appointment or fill out the appointment form at
  • Do only African Americans have Sickle Cell Disease?
    While African Americans are most likely to have Sickle Cell Disease or carry the Sickle Cell Trait, contrary to the widely held myth about this hereditary blood disorder, it does not exclusively occur in people of African descent. It is present on four continents: sub-Saharan Africa and in the Maghrib; Asia (Middle East, Arabic peninsula, India); the Americas—North (USA), center (Guatemala, Caribbean islands) and South (Brazil, Surinam, Guiana); and Europe (Southern Italy and Sicily, Greece, Turkey).
  • Is there a cure for Sickle Cell Disease?
    A bone marrow/stem cell transplant can cure Sickle Cell Disease. A bone marrow/stem cell transplant takes healthy cells that form blood from one person and puts them into someone whose bone marrow is not working properly. This procedure is not without serious side effects, including the possibility of death. For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must be a close match. Usually, the best donor is a brother or sister. Bone marrow/stem cell transplants are used only in cases of severe sickle cell disease for children who have so far developed only minimal organ damage from the disease.
  • Who should be screened for Sickle Cell?
    Everyone, not matter your age or race. Click here for more information:
  • How is Sickle Cell Trait Inherited?
    If both parents have Sickle Cell Trait, there is a 50% (or 1 in 2) chance that any child of theirs also will have Sickle Cell Trait, if the child inherits the sickle cell gene from one of the parents. Such children will not have symptoms of Sickle Cell Disease, but they can pass Sickle Cell Trait on to their children. If both parents have Sickle Cell Trait, there is a 25% (or 1 in 4) chance that any child of theirs will have Sickle Cell Disease. There is the same 25% (or 1 in 4) chance that the child will not have Sickle Cell Disease or Sickle Cell Trait.
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