September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month
Blood Assurance offering Sickle Cell Testing for all donors
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – With September being Sickle Cell Awareness Month- Blood assurance felt it was important to help join the fight and offer to test to all donors.
Sickle Cell Disease is the most common inherited genetic disorder in the United States. It can cause pain crises, anemia and put a patient at an increased risk for infection and stroke.
“Certain individuals are born with a type of blood that doesn’t bend and shape the way it should when it passes through circulation. Because of that the red blood cells will break down faster and get sticky and stuck inside the smaller vessels in the body,” says Dr. Ted Kieffer, Medical Director at Blood Assurance.
The devastating disease affects 100,000 Americans but is more predominant in African Americans.
“If you have sickle cell traits you are actually protected from some blood parasite diseases that are prevalent in the subtropical areas where African American communities originate. There are about 1 in 365 in the African American community that’s affected by sickle cell disease and about 1 in 13 in the African American community has the sickle cell trait,” says Dr. Kieffer.
Because September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Blood Assurance wants to remind residents about the importance of donating blood and also about getting tested for the disease.
“Because their red blood cells are abnormal the only way to make them live a relatively normal life is to convert their red cells into a more normal form or give them somebody else’s red cells. We are testing individuals for the trait so that if you carry the genes that allow your children to possibly have that disease we can tell you whether or not you have that capability,” says Dr. Kieffer.
Because sickle cell red cells only survive for 10-20 days patients with sickle cell disease often require multiple blood transfusions in order to prevent worsening of their disease. Please remember to donate.