What Is Sickle Cell

Disease (SCD)?






SCD is an inherited blood disorder

that limits the amount of healthy

red blood cells carrying oxygen

throughout your body. Red blood

cells are normally round and flexible,

which allows for easy flow through blood vessels. The irregularly shaped, “sickled-cells” are hard and sticky, and they get stuck in blood vessels. This slows and blocks blood flow from carrying oxygen to organs in the body. Plus, it creates a pain similar to the passing of kidney and gallstones! Fortunately, SCD is not contagious.

Programs & Services

  • Advocacy

  • Educational Resources

  • Support Groups

  • Summer Camps

  • Testing

  • Consultation

  • Psycosocial Assessments

  • Case Management

  • Counseling & Referrals

More Information

Who Is Impacted?

SCD affects thousands of people living in Pennsylvania, and affects 100,000+ people in the United States alone. There are over 300,000 infants born each year, worldwide with SCD. SC Disease and SC Trait are common in many ethnic groups including: African, Arab, Asian, Black, Caucasian, Greek, Indian, Italian, and Latino. Trait Facts: 1 to 3 Million Blacks in the USA have the Trait; 100 Million Blacks Worldwide have the Trait.

What is the Life Expectancy?

While efforts over recent years have increased life expectancy and improved the management of SCD, the average life expectancy for SCD patients remains 20 to 30 years less than that of those living without SCD.

What are Some Sickle Cell Complications?

SCD is accompanied by a varying severity of acute pain (sudden onset) and chronic pain and can damage organs such as the eyes, brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and joints.  It can have  a devastating impact on daily activities, school and work attendance and social interactions; it causes fatigue, sometimes devastating; the emotional and psychological impact can be devastating as the recurrent acute painful episodes and chronic pain.

What Is The SCD Stigma with Sickle Cell Disease?

Some suffer in pain, and  do not share what they are going through; many are embarrassed because so many do not understand the disease- they are stigmatized.  Due to this chronic illness with unpredictable painful episodes, many must take days off from school and work. They often choose to tell others that  they are "tired" and "just not up to going out" because they know most people will not understand. And, when severe pain events occur, their pain is often under treated or not treated with a narcotic at all as indicated because they are often labeled as drug addicts or drug seekers. 

For more Information:


The Sickle Cell Disease National Headquarters, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America is in Baltimore, MD.,

(www.sicklecelldisease.org) www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sickle-cell-disease

© 2018 South Central PA Sickle Cell Council

              created by The Partnership for Hope

2000 Linglestown Road, Suite 103, Harrisburg, PA 17110

Monday - Friday  8:00 AM - 5:00 PM



 Phone:  717-234-3358

 FAX:  717-234-1907