Why People Of Color Are More Prone To Develop Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an unspoken concern in the African American community. Amidst glaring racial disparities, medical conditions have been swept under the rug. Due to its undeniable effects, we decided to explore this phenomena. What are the determining factors? Are other illnesses to blame for its onset? Why are sickle cell anemia outbreaks less prevalent in other communities? You will find that info right here.

The American Society of Hematology reports that in the U.S., between 8 and 10 percent of African Americans have sickle cell anemia. The disease can also affect those of Hispanic, South Asian, Southern European Caucasian, or Middle Eastern descent. According to the Mayo Clinic, sickle cell is caused by a recessive genetic mutation. The sickle cell trait is inherited through transfer from both parents, to a child who then develops the disease (via American Society of Hematology). A study published in 2011 by the National Institutes of Health found greater occurrences of sickle cell anemia in people with Yoruba, Mandenka, and Bantu descent (minimally mixed with Caucasian ancestry).

Can the high occurrences be explained?

We need greater understanding of the disorder itself, the origin and preventative cures. With this disorder, the hemoglobin in red blood cells take on an elongated C-shape, as opposed to the normal circular or oval form (via Medline Plus). Rather than flowing freely through blood vessels, the sickle-shaped cells clump together, causing inflammation and great pain (via Mayo Clinic). Red blood cells also become fragile and die faster than the normal life span of a blood cell. Signs of sickle cell manifest as swelling in hands and feet, stunted growth, headaches, fatigue, and chest pain. If left untreated, sickle cell anemia can cause high blood pressure, premature birth, organ damage, and vision problems (via Mayo Clinic).

What can be done? Being knowledgeable on these topics is only the beginning. Sickle Cell Disease News describes how indigenous plants like artar root and papaya leaf and pigeon pea extracts may be able to reverse cell fragility. Experts at Eat Right recommend a diet of foods filled with vitamin D and calcium. Eating a colorful range of fruits and veggies will also be beneficial. Those experiencing severe and chronic symptoms should see a nutritionist, registered dietician, or other medical professional for further options.