Sickle Cell Awareness: Why it is Important to Know Who is a Sickle Cell Carrier and Who is A Sickle Cell Warrior.

Knowledge is very important in dealing with anything health related. It is especially so when dealing with the complexities associated with Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD). I cannot for instance, count the number of times I have explained myself to many people that I am not a Sickle Cell Carrier… that is someone with an AS or AC gene but I am a full blown Sickle Cell Warrior… someone with the double SS gene which leads to the painful genetic blood disorder known as Sickle Cell Disorder.I know many ask such questions because of a desire to know. Nevertheless, ignorance is still a driving force behind people assuming every sickle cell warrior is best known as a carrier. It was therefore necessary to do a blog post on this to try to clarify this confusion as best as I could and September being Sickle Cell Awareness Month; I felt it was the best time to pen it down.

Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) as we have all come to know, is a genetic blood disorder. It usually occurs when two people who carry the S gene procreate and pass it to their kids… in which case, the kids inherit the AS or SS gene. The kids who inherit the AS gene are like their parents, Carriers of the gene because they have the S trait while kids who inherit the SS genes are full blown warriors.

Carriers are usually very healthy, pain free and live normal lives and are usually hardly aware of their status until they are tested. This usually happens when they are expecting or just have a desire to know especially if they come from an area or family with a high prevalence of SCD. If two people with AS get married, they are most likely to produce an SS Warrior as well as someone with the Trait, a Carrier.

While some people with the AS gene can sometimes, manifest symptoms of a SS warrior, especially during extremely cold or vigourous activities and absence of oxygen, they like I just mentioned above, do live very normal and healthy lives. Sickle Cell Warriors on the other hand are those who live the experience of what it means to be a sickle cell patient… frequent excruciating episodes of pain which feels like someone is hammering or sawing your bones away non stop, frequent hospital stays which makes them go through life with stigma, discriminations and tags like half dies and walking corpses and the risk  of organ damage due to frequent medications or dying young are high. This, my people is a Sickle Cell Warrior. Simply put, someone who lives the experience cannot be a carrier.

I hope this  other picture diagram  can clarify this confusion. I am also adding this link  which clearly explains the difference between someone who has the S trait aka carrier and someone with the double S gene aka warrior. Dig in and let me know if these simple explanations and additional information clarified this for you if, like those who have been asking me, you were also among those who confused carriers and warriors.


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