Sickle cell disorder is an inherited disorder that causes the red blood cell to misshapen and break down.
An article on punchng has it that Nigeria has the highest number of people living with sickle cell disorder yet the awareness in Nigeria is so low.
And the treatment and welfare of these warriors are neglected by the government. Indeed, there is a lot to be done concerning awareness in Nigeria and Africa at large.
We can be our own advocate but some warriors are too busy taking care of themselves which is a good thing.
And those that aren’t so busy with their health are too ashamed to speak up. To make a change in their little way.
The lack of awareness has made this disorder become one of the misunderstood genetic blood. Lots of lies fly around about the disorder and also people living with it.
Here are five lies you probably believed about sickle cell disorder.
1. It gets better with age
I have been hearing this but no one has ever said it to me until few weeks back.
This lady was doing a survey on sickle cell warrior. And then she dropped the phrase. “But it gets better with age” I was speechless.
Just like her majority also think that sickle cell disorder gets better as you age. They believe the crisis will be minimal, and complications will not exist.
That is not true. In fact, it is the other way. It gets worse as you age. Your risk of infections increases, your stress level increases which makes you prone to crisis.
It only looks like it gets better because as grown ups you would have learnt how to listen to your body. You would have understood what triggers your crisis and you try to avoid them.
Also you become more educated about your health and can quickly act on whatever is not right. So, sickle cell does not get better with age.
2. Sickle cell warriors cannot work
The discrimination in the work space is high. People believe you cannot work because of your health.
Yes, we fall sick and require lots of time off but yes again, we can work. We can be just as efficient and qualified as our colleagues.
I usually propose that warriors find a job with flexible time. A job that you can do at home. That way you will be able to offer more to your job.
3. Sickle cell affects only black
Sickle cell knows no color. Although it is really predominant among black but it affects every other races.
I have some white sickle cell warriors in my Instagram community. One of them is Simone Bruna who is doing amazing in her life.
It is not true that sickle cell affects only black.
4. Sickle cell warriors can’t give birth
I don’t know how people believe this. Truth is male living with sickle cell can impregnate a lady and ladies with sickle cell can give birth whether with assistance or not. It doesn’t matter.
5. Sickle cell warriors have a certain look
I have heard people tell me I don’t look like someone living with sickle cell and I always reply “how do people with sickle cell look?”
Some do not respond while others go ahead and say “they look skinny and weak” some even add “pale”.
There is no specific look for a sickle cell warrior. With good food and proper care, a sickle cell warrior will look like every other person. Strong and healthy.
Which means some sickle cell warriors are muscular and into body building.
You might also like;
- An interview with Timi Edwin (a sickle cell warrior and advocate)
- Seven sickle cell and fitness common misconceptions
When there is low awareness, people do not understand what it means or look like to live with an invisible illness.
They only believe things based on their own experiences and what they heard from whoever or wherever.
To stop the discrimination and myths flying around, we must use every means in our power to debunk and spread awareness.
- It gets better with age
- Sickle cell warriors cannot work
- It affects only black
- Sickle cell warriors can’t give birth
- They have a certain look
What other lies have you heard about sickle cell? Please share, let’s create awareness.