Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. Individuals with sickle cell disease have red blood cells that primarily contain hemoglobin S, an abnormal type of hemoglobin.
Sickle cell conditions are inherited from parents in the same fashion as blood type, hair color, eye color and other physical attributes. The types of hemoglobin a person makes in the red blood cells are contingent upon what hemoglobin genes the person inherits from his or her parents.
Living Well with Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease (SCD) slows down the flow of oxygen in the blood. This can cause health problems. If you have SCD, it’s key for you to:
1. Visit your Primary Care Provider Regularly
Your primary care provider can monitor your SCD. If your primary care provider tells you to, you should also visit a hematologist (a doctor who treats blood disorders).
2. Prevent Illnesses
Common illnesses can be dangerous for a person with SCD. Wash your hands often, especially after touching animals. Also, stay up to date with your vaccines.
3. Learn Healthy Habits
Eat healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Drink plenty of water, and exercise as advised by your primary care provider.