What is Sickle Cell Trait (AS)?

Sickle Cell Trait is when a person receives at birth from both
parents, a gene for normal hemoglobin (A) and a gene for sickle
hemoglobin (S).  This is what is called Sickle Cell Trait (AS).

Sickle Cell Trait is not a disease.  People with Sickle Cell Trait will
never get Sickle Cell Disease.  Individuals with Sickle Cell Trait
are healthy, live normal life spans and are usually not aware
that they have it unless they have a special blood test.
However, they are at risk for having children with Sickle Cell
Anemia, which is a disease.  The trait will not turn into the
disease or vice versa. The decision to have children is a very
personal one, which only the couple can make.

If both parents have Sickle Cell Trait, for
each pregnancy, there
is:

  • 25% chance the child will have normal hemoglobin.
  • 50% chance the child will have Sickle Cell Trait, a
    combination of one normal hemoglobin gene and one
    sickle hemoglobin gene.
  • 25% chance the child will have Sickle Cell Anemia,
    inheriting a sickle hemoglobin gene from both parents.

About one of 12 Blacks in the United States has Sickle Cell
Trait.  Sickle Cell Trait, Sickle Cell Disease and other hemoglobin
variants have been found in descendants of Americans,
Africans, Hispanics, Italians, Caribbeans, Greeks, other racial
and ethnic groups from the Mediterranean Sea area, India, Asia,
Arabs, and Southern Europe.

Persons who have Sickle Cell Trait should be aware of the
following:

  1. They are advised against flying in unpressurized aircraft
    at an altitude above 8,000 feet.
  2. They are advised against going deep-sea diving or high
    mountain climbing, due to the possibility of sickling of the
    red blood cells.
  3. If they should see blood in his/her urine (hematuria),
    he/she should see a doctor immediately.
  4. Persons should let their anesthesiologist and doctors
    know they have Sickle Cell Trait if they need to have any
    type of surgery.

There are over 700 different types of hemoglobins.  Many of
these serve as a protection against Falciparum Malaria. They
are not contagious and can only be passed from parent to
child.  It is important for you to know your hemoglobin type.

Myth
It is a myth that only
Blacks have Sickle Cell
Conditions
.

Get Tested
Sickle Cell is not an
illness, however, all
people should be
tested to see if they will
pass the sickle gene to
their children.  Genes
are passed from
parents to their children.

Both parents with
Sickle Cell Trait (AS)

When mother and
father have Sickle Cell
Trait, the chances for
each pregnancy are:

1 in 4 (25%) that the
baby's hemoglobin will
be normal (AA).

2 in 4 (50%) that the
baby will have Sickle
Cell Trait (AS).

1 in 4 (25%) tat the baby
will have Sickle Cell
Anemia (SS).

It's very important
to get tested.  You
should know your
hemoglobin type.  
You only have to
take the test once
in your life.

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