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Do you have the Sickle Cell Trait?

 

1 in 13 African Americans is born with the Sickle Cell Trait (SCT).

1 in 365 African Americans develops the disease.

More than 350 Cincinnatians live with the disease every day.

 

For 1 in 365 African Americans, Sickle Cell awareness is a way of life. As most people know, Sickle Cell Anemia (Sickle Cell) disproportionately affects people of African ancestry but also occurs in people of Hispanic, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern descent. Unless you or someone in your family has the disease, you may not know that Sickle Cell is a blood disorder that happens when a person inherits two abnormal genes, one coming from each parent.

 

Most people do not know you can carry the Sickle Cell trait in your body but never develop the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 13 Black or African American babies are born with the Sickle Cell trait and carry the gene for the disease; however, only one in 365 Black or African Americans develop the disease.

 

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Unborn children can be tested for the trait through the mother’s womb. If you are concerned that you or your partner may carry the disease, visit your doctor to have your blood tested for abnormal types of hemoglobin.

 

Approximately 100,000 Americans live with Sickle Cell today. Most of us in our 40s and older had a family member who developed Sickle Cell, suffered excruciating pain, and passed before their 25th birthday.

 

 

Medical Marijuana

 

Thanks to excellent research, innovative treatment, advanced medicine, and a continuum of care into adulthood, the life expectancy of persons with Sickle Cell today is between 40 and 60. Many can manage their conditions with treatments specifically tailored to their bodies.

 

Some use medical marijuana, now legal in Ohio, to reduce pain and minimize tissue damage. Medical marijuana can be inhaled through a vaporizer, smoked, eaten, applied to a lotion, spray, oil, or cream, made into a liquid, and used under the tongue.

 

Since the FDA does not approve medical marijuana, your doctor will not be able to prescribe it, nor will it be covered by your insurance. Here are steps to follow to obtain medical marijuana through Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP):

  1. A OMMCP-certified physician must confirm that you have a medical condition that qualifies. The physician must then create your profile in the Patient & Caregiver Registry.
  2. After creating your profile, you must confirm and complete your program registration through the Patient & Caregiver Registry.
  3. Purchase your medical marijuana from an approved Ohio dispensary licensed by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. More information can be found through their Frequently Asked Questions.

 

 

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Hospital Programs

 

Many people do not know that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, is the pioneer in research for Sickle Cell. It is the most extensive program in the country and serves 850 patients. The first person in the world to be cured of the disease by a bone marrow transplant was at St. Jude.

 

In 2017, St. Jude launched a high-tech study called the Sickle Cell Clinical Research and Intervention Program. Their focus is on newborns to 25-year-old patients and moving from treating symptoms to finding a cure.

 

More than 350 persons in the Greater Cincinnati area live with Sickle Cell. Cincinnati has a great support system for helping and managing the disease, including the magnificent work done at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and UC Health.

 

 

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Resources

 

Cincinnati Sickle Cell Alliance Foundation

A non-profit community-based organization with resources to guide families and patients living with Sickle Cell. They host an annual 5k fundraising event in September and provide scholarships to high school and college students living with the disease.

 

Cincinnati Children’s Sickle Cell Center

Coordinates newborn screenings and follow-up testing for Sickle Cell and all hemoglobin disorders. Patients are cared for from birth through adulthood. Couples who both have the Sickle Cell gene and decide to conceive a child may want to talk to a doctor first. Donate today.

 

Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association

Advocates and develops support for the affected individuals and their families. Donate today.

 

Sickle Cell and Health Awareness Program

Provides health education classes in four high schools, a hotline, and trauma referral services for families in crisis. Donate today.

 

University of Cincinnati Adult Sickle Cell Center

Provides comprehensive care and care for any secondary conditions caused by the disease. To donate or volunteer, call 513-281-4450.

 

 

Related Article: Glaucoma makes African Americans more likely to suffer from vision problems 

 

 

There are plenty of ways to donate or volunteer with the groups above. If we have missed any other programs, please contact us at The Voice of Black Cincinnati.

 

Written by: Crystal Kendrick

 

The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize, and create opportunities for African Americans. Want to find local news, events, job posting, scholarships, and a database of local Black-owned businesses? Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group, and text VOBC to 513-270-3880.

 

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Written by Crystal Kendrick

Crystal Kendrick is the publisher of The Voice of Black Cincinnati. With a vision to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans in the region, Crystal oversees all content creation and publication, ensuring each piece aligns with the outlet's mission to inform, engage, and inspire. A lifelong advocate for community engagement and empowerment, Crystal's leadership steers The Voice of Black Cincinnati toward being a pivotal platform to find community resources, local Black-owned businesses, culturally relevant events, jobs with equal opportunity employers and scholarship for higher education. Connect with Crystal on LinkedIn to explore her experiences and contributions to Cincinnati's media landscape.