Sickle cell disease or sickle-cell anaemia is a hereditary blood disorder, you get it when both mom and dad has the sickle-cell trait.This condition is when you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen through out your body.Normal blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen in th blood and it is shape is round and flexible. sickle-cell anemia red blood cell become rigid and sticky and are shaped like a moon crescent, the damage red blood cells all clump together and stick to the wall of blood vessels, this will cause blood flow blokage.Sickle shaped red blood cells break apart easily which cause anemia, these cells live only 10-20 days instead of the normal 120 days. Sickle cell can cause severe pain and permanent damage to the brain,heart,lungs,kidney.liver.bones, and spleen.Some of the common trigger is infection and deyhydration.Some of the symptoms are
Anemiasickle cell are fragile, they break apart easily and die leaving you without a good supply of red blood cell.
Episodes of Painperiodic episodes of pain called crisis
Swollen hands and feet-may be their first signs of sickle-cell anemia in babies
Frequent infectionsickle cells can damage your spleen, an organ that fight infection.
Delayed– in growth-A shortage of healthy red blood cells can slow growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
Vision ProblemTiny blood vessels that supply your eyes may become plugged with sickle-cell. This can damage the retina the protein of the eye that processes visual image.
This disease can cause some serious complication like:
Stroke-A stroke can occur if sickle cells block blood flow to an area of your brain. Signs of stroke include seizures, weakness or numbness of your arms and legs, sudden speech difficulties, and loss of consciousness.
Organ damage-Sickle cells can block blood flow through blood vessels, immediately depriving an organ of blood and oxygen.
Priapism-Men with sickle-cell anemia may experience painful, long-lasting erections, a condition called priapism.
Gallstones-The breakdown of red blood cells produces a substance called bilirubin. A high level of bilirubin in your body can lead to gallstones.
Acute chest syndrome-This life-threatening complication of sickle-cell anemia causes chest pain, fever and difficulty breathing. Acute chest syndrome can be caused by a lung infection or by sickle cells blocking blood vessels in your lungs.
Pulmonary hypertension-People with sickle-cell anemia can also develop high blood pressure in their lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
Organ damage-Sickle cells can block blood flow through blood vessels, immediately depriving an organ of blood and oxygen. In sickle-cell anemia, blood is also chronically low on oxygen. Chronic deprivation of oxygen-rich blood can damage nerves and organs in your body, including your kidneys, liver and spleen.
Blindness-Tiny blood vessels that supply your eyes can get blocked by sickle cells. Over time, this can damage the portion of the eye that processes visual images (retina) and lead to blindness.
Skin ulcers-Sickle cell anemia can cause open sores, called ulcers, on your legs.
There is a lot of thing that you can do to help you through this disease and help you void complication of sickle-cell anemia, Frist, make sure you follow your doctors orders, take your medication,stay hydrated,take folic acid supplements daily,choose a healthy diet,avoid extremes temperature,exercise regularly,use over-the-counter medications with caution,fly on airplanes with pressurized cabins,plan ahead when traveling to high-altitude areas
Signs of sickle-cell can be detected as early as 4 months old. This disease is common in Africans and African-American, it also found in other ethnic and racial groups including people from South and Central America, the Caribbean,Mediterranean countries,and India.
Sickle-cell has affected my family, we had a family member that passed away from this dieases.It was very hard on the family.I found out through my first pregnancy that I had the sickle-cell trait, which made me nervous because I didn’t know if my husband had the trait or not.I think that everyone should get tested for the disease especially if you plan on having children.
The month of September is Sickle-Cell awareness month, so do something to make people aware,help raise money for a foundation, just do something you never know you can be helping a love one.