Sickle Cell Disease

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For healthcare providers: Additional clinical information

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood condition that is characterized by pain crises and anemia. In the US, newborn screening in most states can diagnose sickle cell disease, usually before the onset of symptoms. The diagnosis of SCD is made by testing for the presence of significant quantities of an abnormal hemoglobin, knows as Hemoglobin S (Hb S). Learn more.

About one in every 5,000 babies is born with sickle cell disease, mostly affecting people of African descent. In the US, about 1 out of 500 African American children born will have sickle cell disease. It is important to realize, however, that sickle cell disease affects individuals of different races and ethnic backgrounds.  

The severity of the disease can vary widely between individuals. Supportive treatment is available, but currently there is not a cure.

Children with sickle cell disease do not have any distinct physical features.

For a list of symptoms see Medical/Dietary Needs.

This information was last updated in May 2020.