About Sickle Cell Anemia
Most people who see Hoxi would never suspect that she has Sickle Cell Anemia. The blood she receives from volunteer blood donors every three or four weeks allows her to live a healthy life. "Life goes on for me because there are soldiers with angel wings who take the time to give blood," Hoxi says.
Sickle Cell Anemia is a serious disease in which the body makes abnormally shaped red blood cells. Normal red blood cells are smooth and round like a doughnut without a hole. Sickle cells are sickle (or "crescent") shaped.
Sickle cells are hard, sticky and don't move easily through blood vessels.
Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited (genetic) disorder. People who have Sickle Cell Anemia are born with it. It is a lifelong disease. Bone marrow transplants have been used successfully in some patients, but right now there is not a cure for most patients with this disease. Many of these individuals with Sickle Cell Anemia require regular blood transfusions as part of their treatment in order to live healthy, active lives.
In the United States, Sickle Cell Anemia affects about 72,000 people. The families of most Americans who are affected come from Africa. In the United States the disease occurs in about:
- One in every 400 African-American births; and
- One in every 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanic-American births
People with Sickle Cell Anemia need regular medical care. The goals of treating Sickle Cell Anemia are to relieve pain, prevent infections and control complications if they occur. The treatments include:
- Blood transfusions; and
- Specific treatment for complications
One patient may need 15 to 25 blood transfusions each year. Some, but not all, patients need transfusions to prevent life-threatening events, such as stroke or pneumonia. To learn more or to submit your request to host a blood drive, or call (713) 791-6670.