Skip links

Why Sickle Cell Population Increased Worldwide Over The Past 30 Years

We’re diving into a topic close to my heart and incredibly important for our global community: the rise in the sickle cell disease (SCD) population. 

Understanding the reasons behind the significant increase in sickle cell cases can help us better address the challenges faced by those living with SCD and improve their quality of life.

Why is the sickle cell disease population increasing?

Sickle cell disease is a genetic blood disorder that affects millions of people around the world. The projected increase in the SCD population can be attributed to several factors:

1. Population growth in affected regions

The incidence of children born with SCD has risen significantly, driven primarily by population growth in regions with high SCD prevalence, including sub-Saharan Africa, North-East Africa, India, and the Middle East. As the populations in these areas expand, so does the number of individuals born with SCD. 

Furthermore, the latest statistics reveal that this trend is not limited to these regions alone. Latin America and the Caribbean have witnessed notable increases in sickle cell disease birth rates.   While regions like central Europe, eastern Europe, central Asia, north Africa, and the Middle East have seen a slight decrease, sickle cell disease is still a heavy, unspoken burden in these areas. 

Shifts in population dynamics are not the sole contribution to the overall rise in the global SCD population.

2. Diagnosis and treatment

Advancements in medical technology and diagnostic tools have made it easier to identify SCD in newborns and young children. Early and accurate diagnosis is crucial for managing the disease effectively. In low-income and middle-income countries, better healthcare has reduced infant mortality rates due to SCD, contributing to better longevity for sickle cell patients.

However, despite these advancements, challenges remain. While policies have been in place to support widespread screening and treatment, only a few countries are fully following adopted and funded these initiatives. This gap highlights the need for consistent implementation and adherence to policies designed to not just improve the quality of life for individuals with SCD but also, prevention of SCD is key.  

Ensuring that these policies are effectively enforced and supported can make a significant difference in global SCD management and care. The upcoming release of our very own sickle cell testing kits will further facilitate early detection and intervention, ensuring timely access to care.

3. Migration and globalization

Global migration patterns have also contributed to the increase in the SCD population. People from high-prevalence areas are moving to different parts of the world, leading to the spread of the SCD gene to new regions. This has resulted in higher numbers of SCD cases being identified in countries that were not historically endemic for malaria, such as the United States. As human migration and globalization continue, SCD is expected to expand globally.

4. Genetic factors

The global distribution of sickle hemoglobin (HbS) overlaps mostly with areas affected by malaria. Sickle cell trait (HbAS) provides a protective effect against severe malaria, which explains why SCD is most common in tropical climates of Africa, the Middle East, and India. 

With advancements in genetic research, we can now identify and categorize the different types of Sickle Cell Disease. The most common forms of SCD include:

  • HbSS: Often referred to as sickle cell anemia, this is the most severe form of the disease.
  • HbSC: A milder form of SCD where individuals inherit one sickle cell gene and one gene for hemoglobin C.
  • HbSβ-thalassemia: This includes both HbSβ⁰ and HbSβ⁺ thalassemia, where the severity can vary depending on the level of normal hemoglobin produced.

Population movements and increased global migration have spread SCD worldwide, extending its prevalence beyond the regions historically affected by malaria. Despite this global spread, SCD remains most common among people whose ancestors lived in malaria-affected areas due to the genetic legacy of the protective HbAS trait.

Addressing the growing challenges

While the increase in the SCD population highlights some positive developments in healthcare and awareness, it also underscores the need for continued efforts to support those living with the disease. Here are a few key areas to focus on:

Access to comprehensive care

Ensuring that individuals with SCD have access to comprehensive care is crucial. This includes regular check-ups, access to treatments, pain management strategies, and specialized care for complications.

Research and treatment advances

Investing in research to develop better, cost-effective treatments and cures for SCD is essential. Innovative treatments, researched-based natural remedies, and holistic practices hold promise for the future.  The cornerstone of Healing Blends Global is our constant Research and Development of natural, effective solutions to SCD. 

Education and advocacy

Educating communities about SCD, its genetic transmission, and the importance of early diagnosis can help reduce stigma and improve the quality of life for those affected. Advocacy efforts can also drive policy changes that support better healthcare and resources for SCD patients.

Holistic approaches to health

Incorporating holistic and natural treatments, such as herbal supplements like EvenFlo, can complement traditional medical treatments and provide additional support for managing SCD symptoms and improving overall health. 

A wake-up call for everyone

The projected rise in the SCD population is a call to action for all of us. By advocating for better healthcare and embracing holistic approaches, we can make a significant difference in the lives of those living with SCD. 

My goal is to educate everyone on science-based, real-life, actionable information about SCD and empower everyone to take proactive steps toward managing this condition. With our current programs, we offer a range of resources designed to support individuals and families affected by SCD:

With our current programs, we offer a range of resources designed to support individuals and families affected by SCD:

  • Living Beyond Sickle Cell: This 6-week DIY course teaches individuals with SCD, parents, caregivers, and supporters everything they need to know about SCD protocols, dos and don’ts, and best practices. You can choose the service that fits your needs best:
  1. Sickle Success Subscription: Join an SCD community to share experiences, exchange information, and receive personalized guidance during a monthly round-table call with me.
  2. Fast Track to Thrive: Receive a personalized review of your medical history and health to create a tailored plan to help you achieve optimal health.
  • Free Webinars: Our free educational webinars will help you learn about sickle cell disease, dispel myths, and raise awareness with accurate information.
  • Healing Blends Global Supplements: Our natural supplements, specifically EvenFlo, are clinically proven to help manage SCD pain and crises effectively.
  • SCD Testing Kits: Soon to be released, these kits will facilitate early and accurate diagnosis, ensuring timely intervention and care.

Let’s continue to spread awareness and work together towards a brighter, healthier future for everyone affected by sickle cell disease. Thank you for joining me in this important conversation.