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Health Minute: World Sickle Cell Awareness Day

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WPSU’s Health Minute is a collaboration with Penn State’s Ross and Carole Nese College of Nursing.

June 19th is World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. Sickle Cell is a genetic trait that causes red blood cells to assume an abnormal sickle shape. This shape causes the deformed red blood cells to clump up and block blood flow, which causes severe pain.

Clumping may also occur in the liver and spleen causing organ damage. Other symptoms include swelling in hands and feet, vision problems, fever, and stroke.

Sickle Cell is more common in African Americans than in all other populations. Current treatments include pain medications, antibiotics, and blood thinners. Advanced treatments include bone marrow transplant and stem cell infusion. Visit the CDC website for more information on Sickle Cell Disease.

Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.