Sickle cell among most common genetic diseases

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More than 70,000 people have sickle cell disease and more than two million people carry the gene that allows them to pass it on to their children.  For kids, sickle cell can mean pain, organ damage, even stroke.

For Monira, the only thing harder than living with sickle cell anemia, was finding out her daughter had it too.

"I feel bad," said Monira's daughter. "Well sometimes my leg hurts, my belly hurts, my back," she went on to say.

But just how much do you really know about the disease?

First up, when both parents have the trait what are the chances they'll have a baby with the sickle cell disease? 

The answer: There's a 25 percent chance. However if one parent has sickle cell anemia and the other just has the trait, there is a 50 percent chance of having a baby with the disease.

Next is there more than one kind of sickle cell disease?

The answer is yes. There are several kinds, but these three are the most common. sickle cell anemia, hemoglobin c and beta thalassemia.

Can people who only have the trait have complications of the disease?

The answer is yes.  People with the trait can experience symptoms during extreme conditions of high altitude, low oxygen, or increased pressure.

Another interesting fact:  A child can get the disease even if both their parents don't have the sickle cell gene.  In some cases only one parent passes on the sickle cell gene and the other passes on a gene for another type of anemia that combine and produce sickle cell disease.

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