June 14, 2022

Health officials say more African American blood donors are needed

Health officials say there is an urgent need for blood donors for those living with sickle cell disease.

Health officials say there is an urgent need for blood donors for those living with sickle cell disease.

Health officials say there is an urgent need for blood donors to help those living with sickle cell disease.

The disease is an inherited blood condition that leaves patients prone to needing blood transfusions to prevent and treat complications.

Indianapolis physician’s assistant, Kimber Blackwell, said African American donors are especially needed.

“In the Indianapolis area, less than one percent of our blood donors are African American, so our sickle cell patients in particular really need others in the African American community to step up and become blood donors,” Blackwell said.

Sickle cell disease is particularly common among those whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa; Spanish-speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that it affects nearly 100,000 people in the U.S., including an estimated 1,500 Hoosiers.

Sickle cell disease causes red blood cells to go from round to a C-shape. The sickle-shaped cells carry less oxygen and can get stuck inside blood vessels, causing extreme pain. The sickle cells also die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. 

Experts say it is important to receive blood that is like your own and is not enough to match up the letter type of your blood. Each ethnic background also has other markers in their blood, called antigens, that make each blood type unique. People who have the same ethnic background are likely to have the same antigens. If you receive blood from a donor who has different antigens, your body may see that blood as an invader it needs to fight off.

To learn more about becoming a blood donor, visit Versiti blood bank

Contact WFYI Morning Edition newscaster and reporter Taylor Bennett at tbennett@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @TaylorB2213.

Support independent journalism today. You rely on WFYI to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Donate to power our nonprofit reporting today. Give now.

 

 

Related News

Indianapolis one of 12 cities participating in a study looking at how parks keep urban areas cool
More food funding for Indianapolis neighborhoods
Fresh Veggie program makes a splash at select Indianapolis parks