July is African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month

July 2013

 

African Americans are one of the hardest race and ethnicity to find on the national bone marrow registry.

 The National Marrow Donor Program shows the percentage of who is in the registry:

73% – Caucasian                                           10% – Hispanic/Latino

8% – African American/Black                          7% – Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

3% – Multiple Races                                       1% – American Indian/ Alaska Native

 

 What is Bone Marrow?

 

Bone marrow is located in the interior of long bones. It is a spongy tissue that makes new blood cells. The two types of bone marrow are red and yellow. Yellow consists of fat cells and red marrow makes red and white blood cells, and platelets.

 

What is the Function of Bone Marrow?

 

The main function of bone marrow is to make new blood cells and keep them at a normal level. These blood cells at the proper count and working normally are an important part of the human body. Stem cells are within bone marrow. These cells can turn into any cell that the body needs.   

 

What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?

 

Bone marrow transplant is a procedure that replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Bone marrow can be destroyed by diseases of the immune system, inherited blood diseases such as sickle cell disease, radiation, chemotherapy, anemia, leukemia, and other diseases. The three sources of transplants are bone marrow, bloodstream, and umbilical cord blood. Bone marrow transplants can cure and reduce symptoms of many diseases. Like most transplants the best source is from a family member. However, family members are not always a suitable match. These patients need to go on a transplant list and wait for someone bone marrow to be a match.

 

How do I Donate?

 

Most people find this process scary because they do not understand it. Donating is easy and rewarding. You would only donate the bone marrow once you have been named a match. Donating is free, it does not always involve surgery, it can be uncomfortable but it is not painful, it does not weaken the donor, it is not dangerous, and no pieces of the donor’s bone are removed.

Please visit these websites for more information about donating:

http://www.bethematchblog.org/

http://www.makemeamatch.org/

 

**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to know if you need a bone marrow transplant. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**

 

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