NC doctor urges African-Americans to donate blood

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A Charlotte doctor is appealing to African-Americans to donate blood to help battle sickle-cell disease.

The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/1zCnVr8) Dr. Ify Osunkwo of Carolinas HealthCare System says there is a need to increase the number of blood units that represent the unique blood types of the African American population.

Sickle cell disease is a hereditary disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped, instead of disc-shaped, blood cells. These abnormal cells tend to block blood flow in the limbs and organs. That can cause pain and organ damage and increase the risk for infection.

Osunkwo said people are living longer with the disease, but with that comes a problem. She said the cells damage organs, and people with the disease need more medical support, including the need for blood transfusions.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

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