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Military Health System

Sickle Cell Trait

Date of Publication:



All conditions in which an individual carries the sickle hemoglobin gene mutation on only one beta globin gene. If the other beta globin gene is normal, the individual has sickle cell trait, which is not a disease and does not alter the individual’s life expectancy. Individual knowledge of carrier status is important for family planning to assist in preventing new cases of sickle cell disease. Sickle cell trait is generally a benign carrier condition, usually with none of the symptoms of sickle cell anemia. In rare instances, some individuals with sickle cell trait, when subjected to the extremes of exertion, in particular when compounded by the environmental challenges of altitude or heat, may possess an increased relative risk for organ infarct, fulminant exertional rhabdomyolysis, and exertional non-traumatic sudden death.

Source of Definition:

DODI 6025.19: Individual Medical Readiness Program

Last Updated: September 15, 2022
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