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Who Is at Risk for Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is most common in people whose families come from Africa, South or Central America (especially Panama), Caribbean islands, Mediterranean countries (such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy), India, and Saudi Arabia.

In the United States, it's estimated that sickle cell anemia affects 70,000–100,000 people, mainly African Americans. The disease occurs in about 1 out of every 500 African American births. Sickle cell anemia also affects Hispanic Americans. The disease occurs in more than 1 out of every 36,000 Hispanic American births.

More than 2 million Americans have sickle cell trait. The condition occurs in about 1 in 12 African Americans.

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Sickle Cell Anemia in the News

September 9, 2014
NIH-convened panel recommends expanded adoption of drug and transfusion treatments for individuals with sickle cell disease
An expert panel has recommended expanded adoption of the drug hydroxyurea for the care of people with sickle cell disease, according to a report issued today. The report also suggests that clinicians give periodic blood transfusions to children with the disease to reduce stroke risk. According to the panel, both treatments are underutilized.

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NHLBI-supported research has helped reduce the burden of sickle cell disease. Learn more about how this research has benefited Tiffany McCoy and others who are living with sickle cell disease in the NHLBI’s stories of success.


 
September 28, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.