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Wellness & Empowerment

When to Get Tested for Sickle Cell Trait

adult sickle cell

This is so important so listen up. Everybody knows that sickle cell disease is a blood disorder caused by abnormal hemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying protein that is found in red blood cells. Sickle cell disease – also called sickle cell anemia – is genetic, which means that it’s passed down from parent to child. Sickle cells are fragile and they easily rupture, and they tend to cause damage to the spleen.

The lack of oxygen in the blood can cause severe fatigue, a tendency toward chronic pain, and an increased risk of serious infections. Other symptoms include painful episodes known as sickle cell crises, as well as long-term complications like stroke. But here is the deal that you don’t know, for adults who are concerned about their risk of having a child with sickle cell disease, genetic carrier screening can help you and your partner identify their carrier status. These tests are available through a physician so here is the deal. If both parents have sickle cell trait, there is a 50% chance that the child also will have sickle cell trait. Children with trait, will not have symptoms of sickle cell disease, but they can pass sickle cell trait on to their children.

If both parents have Sickle cell trait, there is a 25% chance that the child will have SCD. There is the same 25% chance that the child will not have sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait. If one parent has sickle cell trait, there is a 50% chance that the child will have sickle cell trait and an equal 50% chance that the child will not have sickle cell trait. I know this sounds confusing so this is what you must do Before you consider starting a family, you gotta get tested so you can know your risk. Having a child with sickle cell trait isn’t that big of a deal but if that child has sickle cell disease you are in for a life of hospitalizations and doctor visits.

As long as you know what you are getting into, that’s a choice you are going to have to make I just want you to be informed so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

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