UW Health Sciences Library

June 2, 2022

Resource Spotlight: World Sickle Cell Day – June 19

The United Nations designated June 19 as the day to raise awareness of sickle cell anemia across the globe. To celebrate this annual observance, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) sponsors a national campaign Shine the Light on Sickle Cell.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited group of blood disorders which includes sickle cell anemia, a specific form of SCD. With SCD, there is an abnormality in the protein, hemoglobin, found in red blood cells which carries oxygen to bodily organs and tissues. The normally disc-shaped red blood cells are instead sickle-shaped, stiff, and can stick together so do not easily move through blood vessels. This causes blood clots and a disrupted blood flow which can cause pain and a host of serious health problems like anemia, infections, and stroke. Another complication of SCD is damage to organs such as the liver and especially the spleen. In the U.S., sickle cell disease most commonly affects African-Americans, but also affects people from Hispanic, southern European, Middle Eastern, and Asian Indian backgrounds.

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