Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Health is urging everyone be aware of Sickle Cell disease and take action to identify it early. Sickle Cell Disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that affects nearly 100,000 Americans.
Sickle Cell Disease is common in African Americans, Hispanic Americans and people of Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and Mediterranean descent.Complications from SCD include pain which can start suddenly, infection, vision loss and hand-foot syndrome.
‘’The best way to detect SCD early is through newborn screening blood tests which are performed and sent to the State Public Health Laboratory,’’ said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD,’’ These tests are crucial in finding SCD, Critical Congenital Heart Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, hearing loss and more than 60 other diseases and conditions.’’
In 2014, the State lab conducted screenings for 80,542 newborns in Tennessee. Of these, 151 were identified with diseases or disorders. All babies born in Tennessee are required to have a newborn screening. The TDH Division of Minority Health and Disparity Elimination focuses on health issues facing minority communities like SCD, cancer, HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol.
‘’Sickle Cell Disease is a major concern for African Americans and other minority groups ; that’s why we urge people to get tested for SCD,’’ said Tene Franklin, MS, TDH Office of Minority Health and Disparities Elimination Director. ‘’The sooner you know your SCD status, the quicker you can begin treatment.’’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers facts, data, research and more on Sickle Cell Disease at : www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/index.html
About the Tennessee Department of Health
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.
Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health