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Newham residents urged to give blood to help sickle cell sufferers

17:49 16 June 2014

Medics are encouraging people across the borough to donate blood for Sickle Cell Day on Wednesday.

The call comes from NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group which says an estimated 800 people in the borough have sickle cell anaemia, the highest rate of incidences in the UK. The disorder mainly affects people of African and African-Caribbean descent, but can be found in people from Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean origin.

The condition is the UK’s most common genetic disorder and affects the way red blood cells work within the body. Normally cells look like a disc, and move easily around the body with the help of oxygen. People with sickle cell have crescent shaped cells that block the flow of blood, preventing oxygen travelling through the body.

Sickle cell symptoms can include pain affecting bones, joints, stomach and chest, swollen hands and feet, continually feeling run down and jaundice.

The Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre, located 19-21 High Street, East Ham, offers a specialist service with nurses, counsellors, psychologists and social care professionals supporting patients from diagnosis and throughout life.

Sekayi Tangayi, manager and clinical lead of the Newham Sickle Cell Service said: “Sickle cell anaemia can be a painful and debilitating condition but it can be managed to enable people to continue with everyday activities.

“Many sickle cell symptoms can be managed by following a healthy, balanced diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Drinking plenty of water helps to improve blood flow, which decreases the chance of blood clots forming.

“At the Newham Sickle Cell Service we feel it is important that individuals have the information and support available when they need it.”

The next blood donation session in east London will take place at Ilford Town Hall on June 20, 1pm-3pm and 4.30pm-7.30pm.

If you would like to find out how to give blood in Newham call 0300 123 23 23 or visit blood.co.uk/giving-blood

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