Health Days 2019
World Sickle Cell Day
​Introduction:
World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is celebrated on June 19th of each year to raise the public awareness about the sickle cell disease and its treatment methods. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited genetic abnormality of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells). This abnormality causes stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body. Normally, red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky. Red blood cells can live up to 120 days before the body needs to replace them, while sickle cells last only 10 to 20 days causing anemia because of red blood cells disorder.

SCD has many symptoms, including severe anemia, episodes of pain, in addition to a range of complications, most prominently: dizziness, acute chest syndrome (ACS) that causes chest pain, heart failure, chronic kidney disease (CKD), pulmonary hypertension, gallstones, splenomegaly, Immunodeficiency, Joint damage especially in the hip joint, stroke or paralysis, foot ulcers, retinopathy, endocrine disorders, and delayed puberty.

Facts:
  • Sickle cell anemia is described by sickle because red blood cells are sickle or crescent-shaped, and anemia means lack of blood.
  • Sickle cell anemia affects millions around the world.
  • Sickle cell anemia is hereditary not contagious.
  • There is no definitive cure for sickle cell anemia. However, it can be prevented by the pre-marital screening.
  • There is a difference between sickle cell anemia and iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Like any healthy people, patients with sickle cell anemia do not develop any symptoms. 
  • In Saudi Arabia about 4.2% of population carries the sickle-cell trait and 0.26% has sickle-cell disease 
  • The highest prevalence is in the Eastern province, where approximately 17% of the population carries the gene and 1.2% has sickle-cell disease.
Objectives:
  • Increasing awareness of community on the global burden of SCD disorder.
  • Urging health institutions to pay attention to sickle cell anemia through developing health programs at the national level and operating specialized centers to facilitate access to treatment.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of pre-marital screening to reduce transmission of sickle cell disease among generations.
  • Promoting and supporting research to improve quality of life for those affected.
Official Date:
  • Globally: June 19th, 2019
  • Locally: Shawwal 16th, 1440H.



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