Sickle Cell Disease is the most common genetic blood disorder. With its commonality comes a lot of misconceptions about the condition. We’ve listed some of the most common misconceptions that people have about SCD.
Sickle Cell is a genetic disease and only affects people if they inherit an abnormal hemoglobin gene from each parent. Given that it’s a genetic disorder, you can’t catch SCD from someone who has it simply from exposure or otherwise.
Having sickle cells means that one of your parents has an abnormal hemoglobin gene. While some people with a sickle cell trait may experience symptoms of SCD, it’s uncommon.
That being said, it’s still important to test for sickle cell traits. If you’re partner also has a sickle cell trait, there is a 25% chance that your children will have SCD.
In the past, this was a more true statement. These days, more than 90% of children born with SCD do survive until adulthood. Every newborn is screened for SCD to ensure that if a baby does have it, the symptoms are addressed early to prevent strokes or infections.
However, those with SCD do have a shorter life expectancy than an average person. There are more treatments available to improve the quality of life and care for an SCD patient than there were in the past.
Contracting SCD is not dependent upon race. Whether someone is born with SCD is determined by whether or not both parents have the abnormal hemoglobin gene. SCD has also been found in people of Indian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, and Mediterranean ethnicities.
SCD occurs more commonly in people who have ancestors that lived in places affected by malaria. This includes places like the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and India.
In the United States, SCD most commonly presents in African American and Hispanic peoples.