The Sickle Cell Awareness Group works in conjunction with community partners to provide education, screening and other services to those Greater Cincinnati residents and families affected by the sickle cell disease and trait. The Sickle Cell Awareness Group also works to increase public awareness of the sickle cell disorder within the Greater Cincinnati community.
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder caused by a defect in the gene that carries hemoglobin. The defective gene changes the shape of the red blood cells from circular to crescent or sickle shaped. With this change in shape, the red blood cells deliver less oxygen to the body’s tissues and there is an increased chance of the cell getting caught in the small blood vessels and breaking apart, both of which can interrupt blood flow. This decreases the amount of oxygen flowing to the tissues.
Sickle cell anemia is most common among people of African and Mediterranean descent. It is also common in people from South America or Central American countries, the Caribbean and the Middle East. In the United States, sickle cell disease affects around 90,000 people, most of whom have ancestors from Africa. About 1 in 12 African Americans, carry the sickle cell trait.
The symptoms occur in painful episodes, called crises, which can last from hours to days. Crises can cause pain in the bones of the back, long bones, and the chest. Due to a better understanding and management of the disease, the prognosis for sickle cell anemia is better today than it was in the past.
The Sickle Cell Awareness Group is located inside the Urban League’s Buford Gaston Sickle Cell & Social Innovation Center at 3770 Reading Road. Call (513) 281-9955 to connect with the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Greater Cincinnati.