Did you know that sickle cell disease (SCD) is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States? It affects nearly 100,000 Americans and more than 20 million people worldwide. With SCD, red blood cells, which are typically disc shaped and flexible, are instead crescent, or “sickle,” shaped. The cells do not bend or move easily and can block blood flow throughout the body. This can lead to serious conditions such as stroke and infections, as well as eye problems and episodes of severe pain called pain crises.
Each September, people living with SCD, along with caregivers, advocates, healthcare providers, and others, come together for National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. Their goal: to help improve knowledge and understanding about the disease and dispel myths and stigmas surrounding it. The observance month also brings attention to the ongoing need for research, better patient care, new treatments, and widely available cures.
Visit the NHLBI Blood Diseases and Disorders Education Program’s National Sickle Cell Awareness Month webpage for educational materials, including fact sheets, social media resources, and more, that can help bring greater visibility to SCD throughout the year.