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Childrens Hospital, Navicent Health Honors Sickle Cell Patients

Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital Honors Sickle Cell Patients

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month 

MACON, GA (Wednesday, September 24, 2014) – Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital will honor brave young patients who live with sickle cell anemia during September, National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, by raising awareness of this genetic disease.

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia, a condition caused when the body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells to adequately carry oxygen throughout the body. Red blood cells are normally round and flexible, easily moving through the body's blood vessels. For patients with sickle cell anemia, however, red blood cells become rigid, sticky and shaped like crescent moons. The irregular cells may become stuck in small blood vessels, which may slow or block blood flow and oxygen to various parts of the body. Symptoms of the condition include anemia, episodes of pain, swollen extremities, frequent infections, delayed growth and vision problems.

“Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital is committed to providing the best care possible for young sickle cell patients. Although there is no cure for this disease, we do everything in our power to comfort and ease these young patients. We are also committed to raising awareness of this disease in hopes that one day, we will be able to offer curative treatment,” said Dr. Anthony Pearson-Shaver, Director of Pediatrics for Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital.

To inherit the disease, a child must have two parents who carry the sickle cell gene. In the U.S., sickle cell anemia most commonly affects African-Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sickle cell anemia occurs in approximately 1 in 500 African-American births.

There is no cure for sickle cell anemia. However, treatments provided by facilities such as Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital can relieve pain and improve outcomes of conditions associated with sickle cell disease.