Photo by David I Muir

Photo by David I Muir

Lanetta Bronté MD is a leading international Sickle Cell Disease researcher and advocate. She is the Executive Director/Founder for 501 (c)3 not-for-profit organization the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research (FSCDR) in Hollywood, Florida, which is the ONLY comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease research and treatment center in the USA that focuses primary on Sickle Cell.

Dr. Bronté received her Bachelors from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as well as joint Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health from UNC, Chapel Hill. She is also an Associate Professor at the University of Miami, where her daughter is a senior.

Dr. Bronté mentors young girls of color to value science and math and seriously consider pursuing careers in S.T.E.M.. She is a sought after speaker on Leadership Development, Women’s Empowerment and Health/Wellness.

For more info about Dr. Bronté and her foundation go to www.FSCDR.org and Like their Facebook page at @FSCDR.

What is sickle-cell Disease?  It is a disease of oxygen deprivation which affects every organ in the body, which can lead to severe pain complications.

Considering the high probability rate of Sickle Cell in the African-American community (1 of 12 African-Americans have the sickle-cell trait and 1 of 396 African-Americans have sickle-cell disease) why isn’t it as highly promoted or funded as cancers, HIV/AIDS and other diseases?

Because sickle-cell affects African-Americans and people of color more than whites, there is a big concern and belief that institutional racism and lack of understanding how to effectively treat the disease has played a major role in the government and healthcare institutions not donating the necessary resources and media coverage.

Why is it important for people to know their sickle-cell Disease or sickle-cell trait status? Everyone should know if they are a carrier for sickle-cell trait especially if they are planning to have a family.

They should also know if they are playing sports, going skiing, deep-sea diving or other strenuous activities because these are conditions that can cause oxygen deprivation and can lead to problems with spleen and gallbladder.

For example, a few years ago Super Bowl Champion Ryan Clark (Steelers) nearly died due to complications from playing in high altitude.

How can people find out more about the work the Foundation for sickle-cell disease research is doing to make sickle-cell a household name and get tested to learn their sickle-cell status? People can go to our website www.FSCDR.org or Like our FaceBook page @FSCDR

Your sickle cell questions answered below: 

What causes sickle cell? Sickle cell anemia is caused by a mutation in the gene that tells your body to make the red, iron-rich compound that gives blood its red color (hemoglobin). Hemoglobin allows red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body.

What’s the symptoms for sickle cell in adults? The most common symptoms for sickle cell Disease in adults and sometimes in children are pain in the joints, sudden pain in the chest, dizziness, fatigue, low oxygen in the body or malaise, blood in urine, inflamed fingers or toes, yellow eyes, to name a few.

Do people that carry the sickle cell trait have any symptoms?  Unlike people who have sickle cell disease, typically carriers don’t have any noticeable symptoms, which is why it is very important to get tested to know your sickle cell trait status.

How does having the sickle cell trait affect you when you deep sea dive or skydive?  Because sickle cell Disease is a genetic disorder that cause oxygen deprivation, exposing the body to extreme conditions like deep sea diving, mountain climbing or even overworking the body during routine exercising or playing normal sports can cause episodes to occur.

What happens to people who has sickle traits when they go into areas with high elevation?  There are numerous things that can happen when a sickle cell trait carrier is exposed to high altitudes but some of the extreme complications are having to have their spleen or gall bladder removed.

How do we donate to sickle cell research?  Sadly, our Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research is the ONLY fully comprehensive treatment and research center in the USA that focuses primarily on sickle cell. So funds and grants are very limited but individuals, businesses and corporations can donate directly to our 501 (C) 3 not-for-profit by going to www. FSCDR.org and clicking on the Donate button. No donation is too small or too large.

PHOTO: Dr. Brontè

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3 thoughts on “Get Well Wednesday: Your Sickle Cell Questions Answered

  1. Danielle Johnson on said:

    I would like to thank you Tonya for using your platform to bring awareness about Sickle Cell Disease. Also for shining a light on researchers like Dr. Bronte. My sister died of Sickle Cell Disease, my children and I have the trait, so if there is anything I can do to help you spread awareness I would be more than happy to get involved.

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