American Society of Hematology

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Published on: September 13, 2011

Congress has designated September as “National Sickle Cell Awareness Month” to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease, an inherited condition that currently affects 70,000-100,000 Americans.

Sickle cell disease occurs when hemoglobin, a protein carried by the body’s red blood cells that attaches to oxygen in the lungs and transports it to all parts of the body, is abnormal, causing the red blood cells to take on a rigid “C” or sickle, shape. Sickle cells can get stuck and block blood flow, causing pain and infections. Complications of sickle cell disease are a result of sickle cells blocking blood flow to specific organs, and include stroke, acute chest syndrome (a condition that lowers the level of oxygen in the blood), organ damage, and blindness.

ASH continues to work with Congress, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal agencies to increase research, treatment options, and access to care for patients with this serious disease. ASH has developed a sickle cell working group to help identify ways the Society can support federal programs and enhance the Society’s advocacy efforts to improve research and treatment. To learn more about federal sickle cell research opportunities, programs, and resources, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) website and the CDC website.

ASH is also committed to supporting practitioners who care for those with sickle cell disease. ASH will be hosting a free webinar on Stroke, Renal Disease, and Treatment with Hydroxyurea in Adults with Sickle Cell Disease on October 26.

In addition to its strategic partnerships with Congress, NIH, CDC, and other federal agencies to combat sickle cell disease, ASH offers a host of information and multimedia on its sickle cell patient resource page, including a video chronicling a real patient’s journey with sickle cell anemia. Access this page to find general information about sickle cell risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatment options, and links to organizations that inform and support sickle cell patients and their families. 

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