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Published on September 25, 2018

What is Sickle Cell Disease with Dr. Olu Jegede

What is sickle Cell Disease Odu Jegede, MD, MHA

Sickle cell disease is more common than we might think – according to the CDC, about 100,000 Americans live with the condition, and the majority of those affected are African-American. Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that causes hemoglobin, the protein in your blood that carries oxygen, to work improperly. This condition can cause many serious health complications, but with care and treatment, it is manageable.

Sickle cell disease affects the shape of your blood cells, causing them to be sickle-shaped instead of disc-shaped. This sickle shape makes the cells less mobile than normal red blood cells and more prone to blocking small blood vessels in your body. When blockages occur, they can prevent oxygen flow, which can lead to these symptoms:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anemia
  • Tissue damage
  • Jaundice

Although sickle cell disease is a life-long condition, it can be managed. In addition to treatment and care from your health care provider, patients can take many steps on their own to prevent serious health complications. People with sickle cell disease are encouraged to:

  • Take medications prescribed by their health care provider.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Take folic acid supplements to help maintain blood levels.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures, whether they are hot or cold.

Are you searching for answers or care for sickle cell disease? Reach out to your health care provider, or visit us at the Sickle Cell Clinic at Cone Health’s Patient Care Center for compassionate and comprehensive care.