Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder in which red blood cells are crescent shaped or “sickled”opposed to the normal round shape causing the red blood cells to clog small tubes carrying oxygen throughout our body. Sickle cell anemia occurs more in malaria ridden areas such as South Africa, Central America, Caribbean Islands, India, and Saudi Arabia. These likely areas are why African Americans are more prone to have sickle cell disease. However, it is worth mentioning that there is a significant difference in the occurrence of sickle cell in Africans versus African Americans. The map above shows a 3.75 percentage difference between the two countries. The difference is not much, but African Americans genetically get this trait from their African ancestors which gives more evidence that race and genetics plays a role in individuals’ health.
I strongly believe that race, genetics, and health are always directly related to each other. All three categories have an influence on our health. In the article, “the role of race and genetics in health disparities research” described how various races have a history of certain diseases being present, making it easier down the line to test and provide the proper treatment for individuals from that group. It is clearly stated that the “proponents of a biological definition of race further argue that there may be important interactions between race and genetic characteristics in the susceptibility to disease, making such racial classification useful even when a genetic determinant of a complex disease is present in all racial groups.” Even though all racial groups can possibly be infected by a disease, these distinctions being related can aid in future studies. Each country has a large variety of parasites,infections, and diseases that are prevalent in those areas, leading to some ethnic groups to be effected more than others. Understanding the relationship between race, genetics, and health is important to help researchers pinpoint what populations are at high risk for particular diseases, making it easier to take the proper medical action for the groups that can respond to the care.
“The role of race and Genetics In Health Disparities Research”, last modified on December 2005. Accessed July 10, 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449495/
RACE. “Health Connections: Do our genes determine our health?”, accessed July 10,2014, http://www.understandingrace.org/humvar/sickle_01.html