Who Gets Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassemia?
The altered genes causing sickle cell disease and thalassemia are inherited through many generations and are more likely to occur among certain populations. Sickle Cell Disease is seen among African, African-American, Caribbean, Hispanic, Italian, Greek, Asiatic Indian, and Arab peoples. Thalassemia affects Greeks, Italians, Asiatic Indians, Asians, Africans, African-Americans, as well as Caribbean and Hispanic Peoples. It is important to find out if you have either of these diseases or if you might have a trait which could cause you to pass the disease on to your children through your genes. A simple blood test is the surest way to find out if you or your children have either disease. Since 1975, newborns in New York State have routinely been tested at birth for sickle cell disease. Signs of sickle cell disease: • fevers • tiredness and fatigue • pain in the bones & joints • enlarged stomach • swelling in the hands and feet (in young children) Signs of thalassemia: • anemia • dull, sa