What is Sickle Cell Disorder? (SCD)
Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) is an inherited blood condition that is passed on through the genes of your parents. Sickle Cell causes your blood cells to be a half moon shape rather than a full round circle. This means people who suffer from SCD have less oxygen flowing through their body and their body must work extra hard to pump blood around the body. Occasionally these blood cells get trapped between the blood vessels and causes blockage between the blood flow. This then causes severe pain to the body which is known as a 'Crisis' SCD is now the most common serious genetic condition in England and affects more than 1 in 2000 lives in Britain. The genetic condition affects mainly ethnic minorities i.e. Afro-Caribbean, Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean people. It is estimated that there are 12,500 people living with SCD in the UK and estimated that 310,000 carry the sickle gene in UK.
People with Sickle Cell are prone to painful Crisis, which are usually triggered by infections, cold damp weather and stress. Depending on the circumstances sometimes a crisis can lead to hospitalisation. There is currently no cure for SCD, except bone marrow or stem cell transplantation in selected cases.
People who suffer from Sickle Cell can take steps to avoid some of the complications of the disease to stay as well as possible. These include having special vaccinations, avoiding infections, staying hydrated, taking folic acid and penicillin (if recommended by a doctor) having a healthy diet and avoid situations that could cause a crisis like cold environments, tiredness and stress. They should also have regular medical check -ups once a year or more frequent if needed.