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Clumping of sickle cells in the bloodstream.

A new drug for the treatment of complications
associated with SCD. Introduced by
Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. in August 2017.

Be Aware!
September is National Sickle Awareness Month
June 19th is National Sickle Cell Awareness Day
More Information to Come on Events and Activites



This site is dedicated to providing information, education and resources related to Sickle Cell Disease.

We, the Sickle Cell Society of Pittsburgh, invite you join us in understanding and seeking a cure for SCD through volunteerism, participation in events and other activities througout the years.

We welcome your comments and feedback.


What Is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease is a group of disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. People with this disorder have atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape.

Data and Statistics

Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects millions of people throughout the world and is particularly common among those whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa; Spanish-speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere (South America, the Caribbean, and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy.


The exact number of people living with SCD in the U.S. is unknown.  CDC estimates of SCD in the United States:




1 out of

African-American Births

1 out of

Hispanic-American Births


Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease usually begin in early childhood. Characteristic features of this disorder include a low number of red blood cells, repeated infections, and periodic episodes of pain. The symptoms of sickle cell disease are caused by the sickling of red blood cells. When red blood cells sickle, they break down prematurely, which can lead to anemia. Anemia can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and delayed growth and development in children.

The rapid breakdown of red blood cells may also cause yellowing of the eyes and skin, which are signs of jaundice. Painful episodes can occur when sickled red blood cells, which are stiff and inflexible, get stuck in small blood vessels. These episodes deprive tissues and organs of oxygen-rich blood and can lead to organ damage, especially in the lungs, kidneys, spleen, and brain.

A particularly serious complication of sickle cell disease is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). Pulmonary hypertension occurs in about one-third of adults with sickle cell disease and can lead to heart failure.