Education: Sickle Cell Trait

People who inherit one sickle cell gene and one normal gene have sickle cell trait (SCT). People with SCT usually do not have any of the symptoms of sickle cell disease (SCD), but they can pass the trait on to their children.

How Sickle Cell Trait is Inherited

If both parents have SCT, there is a 50% (or 1 in 2) chance that any child of theirs also will have SCT, if the child inherits the sickle cell gene from one of the parents. Such children will not have symptoms of SCD, but they can pass SCT on to their children.

If both parents have SCT, there is a 25% (or 1 in 4) chance that any child of t heirs will have SCD. There is the same 25% (or 1 in 4) chance that the child will not have SCD or SCT.

If one parent has SCT, there is a 50% (or 1 in 2) chance that any child of this parent will have SCT and an equal 50% chance that the child will not have SCT.


SCT is diagnosed with a simple blood test. People at risk of having SCT can talk with a doctor or health clinic about getting this test.

SCT and Athletes

Some people with SCT have been shown to be more likely than those without SCT to experience heat stroke and muscle breakdown when doing intense exercise, such as competitive sports or military training under unfavorable temperatures( very high or low) or conditions.

Studies have shown that the chance of this problem can be reduced by avoiding dehydration and getting too hot during training.

People with SCT who participate in competitive or team sports (i.e. student athletes) should be careful when doing training or conditioning activities. To prevent illness it is important to:

  • Set your own pace and build your intensity slowly.
  • Rest often in between repetitive sets and drills.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after training and conditioning activities.
  • Keep the body temperature cool when exercising in hot and humid temperatures by misting the body with water or going to an air conditioned area during breaks or rest periods.
  • Immediately seek medical care when feeling ill.

Content source: Sickle Cell Disease(SCD). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. January 16, 2014.

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Florissant, MO 63032


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