Dr. Stephen Nelson, medical director of the vascular anomalies center at Children’s Minnesota, and Ray Blaylark, sickle cell patient health advocate, attended the Minnesota Sickle Cell Coalition to speak on racial disparities in sickle cell disease and the need for people of color on patient care teams.
Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and contain hemoglobin, a substance that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Typical red blood cells are disc-shaped. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become sickle-shaped, or in other words, shaped like a "C." Because of this, the red blood cells don't move easily through small blood vessels. They can get stuck, form into clumps, and block blood vessels. This can cause pain, infections and damage to the organs.
Children's Hemoglobinopathy and Sickle Cell Program is a nationally recognized program that treats the majority of children and teens in Minnesota with abnormal hemoglobins and anemias. We treat the following types of anemias and hemoglobinopathies: