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by Dawna Dilworth category: Health
Red blood cells (RBC) carry oxygen and in sickle cell there is a genetic defect that makes the RBC collapse and look like a sickle. Normal RBC are flexible and can carry alot of oxygen. Sickle cells are hard and rigid and get stuck in small spaces. They don't carry as much oxygen as does a normal cell. If this cell gets stuck in a small space it can block blood vessesl, deprive tissue of oxygen and cause pain and strokes.
Over 2 million people in the US. carry this gene; about 100,000 have sickle cell disease (SCD). 1 in 12 African Americans are carriers with lesser in Hispanics (1 in 100), and even less in those of Middle Eastern, or Indian descent. The disease affects 1 in 400 Blacks and 1 in 19,000 Hispanics.
The funding disparities for sickle cell disease research compared to other pediatric diseases are huge. Cystic fibrosis, a disease that affects primarily Caucasians, occurs in only a third of the numbers affected by SCD, but receives 3.5 times more funding. Private funding from foundations was about 400 times higher for cystic fibrosis! Unsurprisingly, Johns Hopkins researchers note that no drugs were approved between 2010 and July 2013 for the treatment of SCD compared with five for cystic fibrosis.
It's time to stop the disparities in both research and treatment of this painful and devastating disease. Today #istandwithsicklecell
In addition to being a physician, I am a member of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., a professional humanitarian organization One of our goals is to spread the word and raise awareness about sickle cell disease. www.tlodinc.org