90% of children with undiagnosed hereditary disease will die in - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

90% of children with undiagnosed hereditary disease will die in the first five years of their life


A recent study found a deadly hereditary disease is on the rise around the world.

Sickle Cell Anemia affects hundreds of thousands of babies born every year; new research reports the numbers will increase.

"It's the thorn in my flesh. There are good days, there are bad days. There are days when you wake up sometimes and you don't want to get out of bed," Columbus native Alexis Jarrett says.

Jarrett, 24, has full blown Sickle Cell Anemia.

"There are different variations of it. I have full-blown which is called 'SS.' My genes pretty much they carry the full blown trait and there's  some people who they just carry the genetic code for it which is called Sickle Cell trait," says Jarrett.

Both of Jarrett's parents carry the Sickle Cell trait. The mutations cause red blood cells to collapse and form a crescent moon-like shape. The sickle cells clump together and can't carry oxygen throughout the body; when this happens it's referred to as a "Crisis."

"Let's say I've been in the swimming pool too long or I haven't drank enough water, what happens is my cells begin to curve and they don't deliver the oxygen my body needs. What happens is certain portions of my body begin to throb and hurt and in pain," says Jarrett.

Many end up in the hospital. For most of her life Jarret went unaffected by the horrible symptoms the hereditary disease carries. Jerrett says she's lost count of how many times she's been to the emergency room.

"Over time your body begins to wear down. Your body's not made to survive without oxygen," explains Jerrett.

According to medical professionals, if the disease goes undiagnosed, up to 90 percent of children with sickle cell anemia will die in the first five years of their life and Jarret has already beat the odds.

"It makes you sit back and be thankful for your life. I believe Sickle Cell patients really learn to [appreciate life]. I'm going to get up. I'm going to make the most of my day because tomorrow, literally to us is not promised," Jarrett says.

Sickle Cell Anemia can affect anyone but it's disproportionately diagnosed in African Americans. One in 12 babies born in the United States will be diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia; that's around 8 percent of the population opposed to one percent of Caucasian diagnosis.

A recent study reports the global burden of Sickle Cell Anemia is set to rise by more than 30 percent by 2050.

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