Sickle Cell Program

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD): A group of inherited red blood cell disorders. In SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a "sickle." When sickle-shaped cells block small blood vessels, less blood can reach that part of the body. This blockage prevents red blood cells from transporting oxygen to the body and results in a   shortage of red blood cells, or anemia.

Sickle Cell Trait: People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have sickle cell trait (SCT). People with SCT usually do not have any of the symptoms of sickle cell       disease (SCD), but they can pass the trait on to their children.

In the United States, sickle cell disease is most common in African American and person of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indians ancestry. It also affects other groups including Hispanics/ Latinos and Asians. A growing number of Caucasian Americans in North Carolina are being identified with sickle cell trait (carrier) and other abnormal hemoglobin types.

Sickle Cell Services offered at the Iredell County Health Department:
  • Free Testing: Testing identifies risk and provides information concerning the reproductive risks for carriers of sickle cell traits or other traits that can affect children; provides facts  needed to make decisions about reproduction.
  • Self-referral
  • Physician Referral
  • Free counseling for anyone with sickle cell disease or trait
  • Link to regional counselor for many additional services including medical treatment, genetic counseling, education, and referrals for appropriate care.

Resources for more information:

CDC information about Sickle Cell Disease:

CDC information about Sickle Cell Trait:

The Management of Sickle Cell Disease Manual:

North Carolina Sickle Cell Program: