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Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a term used for a group of hereditary disorders of the red blood cells, affecting approximately one out of every 365 African-Americans in the United States.

There are approximately 1,000,000 African Americans living in Mississippi, which means there are at least 2,700 African Americans in Mississippi living with sickle cell disease at any one time.

What is
Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that affects the red blood cells.  Healthy red blood cells are round and move through small blood vessels carrying oxygen to all parts of the body.  In SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”.  While normal red blood cells can live up to 120 days, sickle blood cells only live for about 10 to 20 days.  This causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. 


The sickle cells can get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs in the body. These blockages cause repeated episodes of several pain, organ damage, serious infections, or even stroke. 

SCD is the most common genetic disease in the United States.  SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans. SCD occurs in 1 out of every 365 Black or African American births.  SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic American births.  Worldwide, approximately 300,000 infants are born with sickle cell anemia annually.  About 3000 people are living with sickle cell disease in the state of Mississippi.

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