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Sickle Cell Disease and the Family

  • By: Mary L. Houston
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder affecting more than 80,000 people in the United States and millions worldwide, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute. This chronic hemolytic anemia influences the lives of not only the individuals with SCD but also their extended families including parents, siblings, and grandparents due to hospitalizations and disabilities. The disease not only affects 1 in 400 African Americans but also affects other ethnicities whose families originate from South or Central America, Caribbean Islands, Mediterranean countries, India, and Saudi Arabia. Although SCD is the most common genetic defect identified during routine newborn screening processes, effective management of this complex disease continues to be a challenge. This entry describes the origins and complications of SCD and discusses ...

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