Sickle Cell disease is a common disorder of the red blood cells. It is called “sickle cell disease” because the person’s red blood cells can become shaped like a “sickle”, or like the letter “C”. These cells are sticky and rigid, rather than round, soft and smooth, and cannot move easily through the body. Because of their odd shape, they may not be flexible enough to squeeze through small blood vessels and can deprive body parts of oxygen and can cause pain and damage tissues. Sickle Cell is a disease that is inherited, this means that people cannot “catch” the disease from being around others with the disease but is passed genetically from parents to child.
Sickle Cell is a serious disease and can cause complications; your child needs to count on you to make informed and good decisions about their health care. Even as an adult, good decisions and medical follow up will help in decreasing complications and improve your quality of life.
Maryland’s Sickle Cell Follow Up Program follows newborns through children and young adults age 18, providing them and their families information about Sickle Cell Disease and other hemoglobin disorders, what to expect from your provider and specialist, guides to living with Sickle Cell disease, and other information pertaining to daycare, school, sports, transitioning to an adult provider, web resources and organizations of interest to persons with Sickle Cell disease.