If you didn't know, September is Sickle Cell Awareness month. Sickle cell disease is a condition that affects different races of people around the world, but mainly blacks and African Americans have sickle cell disease. What happens in a person's body that has the disease is that some of their red blood cells become hard, sticky and shaped like a C. When this happens the 'C' shaped cells die early and causes a constant shortage of red blood cells.

When a person does not have enough red blood cells, they are considered anemic. If the 'C' shaped cells don't die off, sometimes they will get stuck and clog the flow of blood. When either happens, it causes severe pain and organ damage, which can lead to serious infections.

Here are some tips for you or someone you may know who suffers from sickle cell disease to remain as healthy as possible:

  • Get regular checkups - Primary care doctors can help prevent some serious problems.
  • Prevent infections - Common illnesses like the flu are extremely dangerous for some one with sickle cell disease. The best defense is to take simple steps to prevent illnesses
  • Learn healthy habits - If you have sickle cell disease you should drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day and eat healthy. Also, people with sickle cell disease should not get too hot, too cold or too tired.
  • Get support - People with sickle cell disease should find a patient support group and community organizations that can provide more information, support and assistance.