09.11.15

Congresswoman Lee Applauds Release of Sickle Cell Toolkit

Washington, DC - This week, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Society of Hematology and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America released an updated Sickle Cell Trait toolkit to provide community members with health education materials and resources. One in twelve African Americans are diagnosed with the Sickle Cell Trait.

“Sickle Cell Disease is our nation’s most common inherited blood disorder, and more than three million Americas carry the Sickle Cell Trait. Tragically, far too many with the trait are unaware that they carry the trait and they have not been educated about the risk factors associated with Sickle Cell Trait,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “This updated toolkit is an important resource for those with the Sickle Cell Trait, their families and their physicians. I urge everyone to take the time to go through this toolkit and learn more about Sickle Cell Trait.”

“As a member of the health funding subcommittee, I have long called for a broader public education campaign concerning Sickle Cell Trait and its health risks,” added Congresswoman Lee. “The development and distribution of this toolkit is an important step toward empowering all Americans to take their health in their hands and live healthier lives.”

It’s estimated that Sickle Cell Disease affects between 90,000 and 100,000 Americans. Recent studies estimate that as many as 1.5 percent of all babies born in the United States may have the Sickle Cell Trait. Those with the trait are at risk for various health conditions and may have a false positive A1C test, a test commonly used to screen diabetes.  Congresswoman Lee, as a senior Appropriator on the Labor, Health and Human Services Subcommittee, has introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for increased efforts to research the Sickle Cell Trait and a national campaign to raise awareness about the blood disorder.

Congresswoman Lee continued: “As we work to spread the word about Sickle Cell Trait and Disease, we must also redouble our efforts to ensure that communities of color receive high quality and culturally appropriate health care.”

BACKGROUND:

Individuals who carry the Sickle Cell Trait have a 50-50 chance of passing the trait to their children.  Individuals with the trait have a 25 percent chance of having a child with Sickle Cell Disease, if their partner also carries the trait.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.