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Sickle-cell Anemia and Consanguinity among the Saudi Arabian Population

Rana G Zaini

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is one of the most common severe autosomal recessively inherited blood disorders. In Saudi Arabia, the prevalence of this disease is significantly varied in different regions of the country, and the highest prevalence in the Eastern province of the country. A consanguineous marriage has been linked to the high incidence and prevalence of Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA), which, accounts more than 50%, with the rate of marriage between first cousins ranging from 40% to 50%. However, the last few years showed no increase in the prevalence of sickle cell disease among Saudi’s. This might be related to the remarkable scientific progress in the understanding of the complex pathophysiology of the disease, improving knowledge regarding SCA among community, better medical care, and the efforts of Saudi’s government to provide genetic counselling services and implementing of mandatory premarital screening program. This review therefore is about the epidemiology, history of SCA among Saudi’s, clinical complications, and consanguinity marriage and SCA, with a focus on its local premarital screening program.