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Ask Dr. Kevin: Understanding Sickle Cell Disease

key information

source: Pfizer Rare Disease in collaboration with the National Newspaper Publishers Association

year: 2017


“Ask Dr. Kevin” is a new feature brought to you by Pfizer Rare Disease in collaboration with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) to increase understanding of sickle cell disease.

Dr. Kevin is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Rare Disease at Pfizer. He pursued medicine after being inspired by his father’s work as a general practitioner. Dr. Kevin is passionate about raising awareness and increasing understanding of sickle cell disease in the African-American community.

In this article, Dr. Kevin answers common questions about sickle cell disease and its impact on the African-American community and provides tips for living with and supporting someone with the disease.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited genetic disease that affects hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein within red blood cells (RBC). While normal RBCs are flexible and oval-shaped, individuals with SCD have sharp, crescent-shaped RBCs that have trouble passing through the body’s blood vessels, irritating the vessels’ lining. This irritation leads to the production of “sticky” proteins that cause RBCs to clump together, along with other cells in the blood, and creates blockages in blood flow.

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