What Is Sickle Cell
Sickle Cell Anemia is a hereditary blood disorder that occurs among African-American, African, Middle Eastern, Latino, Asian, Indian, and Mediterranean decent. However, other ethnic groups can have sickle cell disorders.
Sickle cell anemia is the most common sickle cell disorder. Other forms are hemoglobin S C disease and sickle beta-thalassemia. The disorders can cause attacks that may include severe pain, high fever, and damage to body organs and tissues.
Sickle cell anemia may injure the body parts, especially the bones, central nervous system, lungs, liver and spleen. Some of the effects are: infections, jaundice, complications during pregnancy, leg ulcers and other complications.
These disorders are not contagious, nor do they affect the mind. Many people living with these disorders lead productive lives.
Fact About Sickle Cell Trait and Disease
Why people are affected with this disorder?
An individual who has sickle cell anemia has inherited the sickling hemoglobin gene from both parents. When a person has too much of the abnormal hemoglobin S, it causes the cell to sickle, or change to a sickle- like shape. Hemoglobin gives the red blood cells their color and carries oxygen to body tissues.
When the cells become sickled, this occurrence may interfere with the flow of blood and clog the blood vessels. At that time a painful attack, called a pain episode, may occur because the body tissues are deprived of oxygen. A sickle cell pain episode may last several days.
Sickle Cell Anemia vs. Sickle Cell Trait?
There is a big difference between sickle cell anemia and sickle cell trait. An individual with sickle cell trait will never get sickle cell anemia. However, they carry an abnormal gene that could affect their children.
It works like this?
If each parent carries one normal hemoglobin gene and one sickling gene, a child of such parents has one chance in four of inheriting the sickling gene from both parents, thus developing sickle cell anemia. Persons who inherit the sickling gene from only one parent do not get sickle cell anemia, but they can transmit the abnormal gene to their children. Generally, a person with the sickle cell trait rarely, if ever, is affected. However, some people may experience problems where the oxygen levels are low or at high altitudes.
Is it treatable?
Yes! Techniques presently used to control sickle cell disorders include medication, inclusive of special drugs, bone marrow transplants (if required), and other treatments such as oxygen therapy, blood transfusions and IV therapy which helps to prevent dehydration.
There is hope! Extensive research is being conducted at this very moment to control and eradicate these disorders.