Good morning and how was your night ? I have heard a group of both educated and uneducated persons discuss sickle cell anemia with baited breathe. They usually discuss a whole lot of issues ranging from the importance of doing a genotype test before marriage,  how to take care of a sickler child, how to boost the blood level of a sicker, the inheritance of SS gene, to the problems of sickle cell anemia, the cost burden of raising a “sickler”  is expensive and the life span of sickle. Others have heard is that sickle cell anemia is only found in black people and it is a disease of blackness. Some say sickle cell disease is contagious and pregnant women should stay away from sufferers. Others believe it is not curable. There is another common belief that sicklers are immune or protected from malaria attack.

What strikes me in these discussions  is the lifespan of a sickler. Most of these people surprising have usually pegged the lifespan of sickle cell sufferers at 21 years. Many believe sicklers don’t live to adulthood. Some even say if a sicker does not die at 21 years, he or she will not die again till old age.  I realized it is a common belief that has taken hold of the minds of people across the world especially in Africa.

But how true is this common belief?

Leave a comment please.



  1. Please let us comment on this topic so we can get knowledge. A lot of information is flying out there on sickle cell anemia. Let either confirm, debunk or reaffirm them for the betterment of all. I will appreciate you contributions. Thank you.

  2. From 6 months to 5 yrs is usually very turbulent for a sickler but with good management in and out of hospital they pull through even after that with good care they can live their normal life even above 50yrs

    • Honestly it’s not easy. The commitment is great on the part of the parents, financially, physically and emotionally. Even the pain and frequent hospital visits can take its toll on the patient. But with encouragement and regular checks, even when apparently well, they still do okay.
      Kudos to those living with the condition (for struggling through it and surviving) and to their parents/caregivers (for caring).

  3. My candic opinion is that it’s false, and can’t be proven, cause I’ve seen sickle cell patients live longer than 30 years of age, the only issue is their constant visit to the clinic

  4. Please be informed that malaria is a primary caused of death in children and adults suffering from sickle cell anemia. Being SS does not protect you from malaria.

    However, people with AS called sickle cell carriers are protected from malaria.

  5. In a research conducted by Platt OS etal in 1994 on 3764 sickle cell patients ranging from age 0 to 66 years revealed that: “Fifty percent of patients with sickle cell anemia survived beyond the fifth decade. A large proportion of those who died had no overt chronic organ failure but died during an acute episode of pain, chest syndrome, or stroke. Early mortality was highest among patients whose disease was symptomatic. A high level of fetal hemoglobin predicted improved survival and is probably a reliable childhood forecaster of adult life expectancy.”

  6. The atmosphere for the management of sickle cell anemia is clearing up. Perhaps, the mortality must have been very high in the past when the disease and its management were poorly understood, hence the myth that the average lifespan of a “sickler” is 21 years. However, sicklers who tap into the current knowledge on the disease by making themselves available for regular check-ups, hematinics, malaria prophylaxis etc. are able to lead fairly normal lives attaining the normal lifespan attainable in the region, and may even die from an unrelated cause 🤷🏾‍♂️. Besides, we’re now talking about bone marrow transplants… a total cure… HbSS to HbA. How nice is that??? (The money tho🤷🏾‍♂️ and availability of a suitably matched donor) Another scourge that could potentially shorten the lifespan of sicklers is when they get hooked to their pain meds and start to inject themselves. This only leads to diseaster.

    • Thank you Seyitan. On the issue of sicklers abusing pain medications, it is quite common these days. Most sicklers inject themselves with Pentazocin (sossegon) and tramadol because of pain and also because of addiction. They inject their thighs and buttocks and they end up developing chronic ulcers and gluteal abscesses. It turns out to be a disaster.

  7. If you want to stay healthy as a sickle cell patient, then you must adhere to the following instructions and routines.
    1. Take plenty of water. At least 15 litres of water a day. For children, 5 litres is not bad.
    2. Know your stable or steady state PCV.
    3. Take your drugs e.g. Folic acid, Vitamin C, Paludrine, hydroxyurea daily.
    4. avoid triggers of crises like extreme cold or heat, dehydration, strenuous exercise, etc.
    5. Always do a PCV check.
    6. Treat all infections vigorously
    7. Eat balanced diet and up to 5 times a day. Take fruits and vegetables.
    8. Watch out for fever. Fever in SS patient is an emergency .
    9. Join a Sickle Cell Support Group
    10. Treat all leg wounds with utmost attention.
    11. Take good care of your feet to avoid chronic leg ulcers.
    12. Go for routine check up.
    13.Listen to your doctors.
    14. Do abuse pain killers
    15. Shun self pity. Be happy. Make friends.
    16. Develop interest in a career and pursue it.
    17. Overcome all forms of stigma.

  8. With the great advancement in medicine over the years, sickle cell disease patients are now able to live longer lives. There are still concerns however about their quality of lives because most of them are still subject to chronic pain, frequent hospitalisation (depending on disease severity), possibility of analgesics dependence to mention a few. With good medical, social, psychological, spiritual support a good number of them are able to live fairly long and impactful lives, beyond 21 years.


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