September is Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, and for actor Larenz Tate, that means spreading the word about a chronic disease that disproportionately affects the African-American community.
"It's really important to know if you carry the disease," says Tate, 36, who recently costarred on FX's Rescue Me and in BET's made-for-TV movie Gun Hill, which premieres this fall.
As many as 100,000 people in the United States have the disease, which causes red blood cells to resemble sickles or crescents...
Hemophilia A -- also called classic hemophilia -- is most common and occurs in about 80% of people with hemophilia.
Hemophilia B -- also called Christmas disease -- is less common and occurs in about 20% of people with hemophilia.
Hemophilia A results from too little of a plasma protein called factor VIII, which helps blood clot. The greater the deficiency, the more severe the symptoms.
Mild hemophilia: 5% to 40% of the normal factor VIII level
Moderate hemophilia: 1% to 5% of the normal factor VIII level
Severe hemophilia: Less than 1% of the normal factor VIII level
Most people who have hemophilia A have moderate or severe symptoms.
Hemophilia B results from too little of a plasma protein called factor IX, which helps blood clot. As in hemophilia A, hemophilia B can be mild, moderate, or severe. The greater the deficiency, the more severe the symptoms.
If there is no family history of hemophilia, an infant would not be tested for the condition. However, if there is a family history of hemophilia, specific tests can be done from an umbilical cord blood sample to see if a newborn infant has hemophilia. In fact, if the family desires, such testing can be done before a child is born.
For moderate or severe hemophilia, doctors and caregivers usually don't see any signs of the condition at birth or even for some time afterward. Symptoms in children may include:
Heavy bleeding in a male baby after circumcision
Excessive bruising or unusual bleeding during teething
Swollen, bruised joints or muscles when learning to walk
Frequent falls and bumps
For mild hemophilia, you may not have any noticeable symptoms until you undergo a dental procedure, which may cause you to bleed heavily, or you may not have any unusual bleeding unless you are injured in an accident or have surgery.