Sickle Cell Trait vs Sickle Cell Anemia
There is a big difference between sickle cell anemia and sickle cell trait. An individual with sickle cell trait will never get sickle cell anemia. However, they carry an abnormal gene that could affect their children.
How It Works
If each parent carries one normal hemoglobin gene and one sickling gene, a child of such parents has one chance in four of inheriting the sickling gene from both parents, thus developing sickle cell anemia. Persons who inherit the sickling gene from only one parent do not get sickle cell anemia, but they can transmit the abnormal gene to their children. Generally, a person with the sickle cell trait rarely, if ever, is affected. However, some people may experience problems where the oxygen levels are low or at high altitudes.
Can It Be Treated?
Yes! Techniques presently used to control sickle cell disorders include medication, inclusive of special drugs, bone marrow transplants (if required), stem cell treatment and other treatments such as oxygen therapy, blood transfusions and IV therapy which helps to prevent dehydration.
There is hope! Extensive research is being conducted at this very moment to control and eradicate these disorders.
Pamela D. Thompson
The North Alabama Sickle Cell Foundation provides screening for sickle cell disease and trait to the community. If you are interested in being tested please call 256-536-2723 for an appointment.
The North Alabama Sickle Cell Foundation is often represented at Health Fairs to offer information on sickle cell disease and related conditions, to build awareness, and educate the community.
Most people with sickle cell trait (AS) do not experience any medical problems due to their carrier status. A few people with trait may have symptoms, although this is very rare. These can include: blood in the urine, pain or discomfort at high altitudes, and problems with extreme exercise in hot, humid weather when not drinking enough water.
Is There A Cure?
A universal cure for sickle cell has not yet been discovered. Bone marrow transplants have cured sickle cell in some individuals, but the procedure is risky and has a high chance of failure. Many doctors believe that the research currently being done on gene therapy is the first step in finding a viable cure for sickle cell disease.