By Chelsi McCormick
December 2, 2013
Sickle cell anemia is a disease that affects peoples lives all over the world. Sickle cells is not contagious it is an inherited group of traits that cause a red blood cell disorder. This group of traits make it difficult for red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen throughout the body. Normally red blood cells are round and flexible but with sickle cell anemia red blood cells that carry oxygen inside the body are defective, making then form into a sickle like shape. Red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body is called Hemoglobin. These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which slows or blocks blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.
The symptoms of Sickle Cell include Anemia, Episodes of pain, Hand-foot syndrome , frequent infections , delayed growth , and vision problems. Anemia is caused because sickle cells are very fragile and because they are easy to break or die you’re left short on red blood cells. Without enough red blood cell circulation your body wont get the amount of oxygen it needs to be energized. The life span of blood cells is one hundred twenty days before it is replaced. With Anemia the life span is ten to twenty days. Since anemia affects your oxygen it normally causes the symptom of fatigue. Hand and foot syndrome is when your hands and feet swell due the blockage red blood cells cause to the hands and feet. When infants have sickle cell hand-foot syndrome is the first symptom. Sickle
Cell damages your spleen , which is an organ that fights off infection. To prevent infection doctors prescribe anti-biotic’s for patients who have this disease. The deficiency of the spleen that causes infection can bring about life threating illness like puenumonia. Since Sickle Cell causes low blood cell count that isn’t always healthy, it affects your growth because red blood cells provide oxygen and nutrients. It slows growth mainly in children, and it also delays puberty. Your vision is affected by this disease and it causes small blood vessels to be plugged with sickle cells which can cause damage to the retnia. Sickle cell is normally diagnosed at infancy but sometime the trait can be active when someone is older as well.
Sickle cell Is widespread among Hispanics and African-Americans. The cause of this disease is due to the mutation of a gene that transports hemoglobin to your body. Hemoglobin transports blood to your lungs for all parts of your body. The sickle cell trait is passed down through generations in a pattern called autosomal recessive inheritance. Autsomal Inheritance means that both of the parents will have defective genes causing the child to develop this disease. When only one parent has the gene the child will have a sickle cell trait. People with the trait will have some sickle cells but they don’t experience symptoms because there aren’t enough. Having the trait makes you a carrier of the gene so it is possible that your children can have sickle cell or the trait.
The medications used to treat sickle cell are Antibiotics, Pain – relievers , Hydroxurea ,immunizations , blood transfusions , supplemental oxygen , and stem cell transplant . Anti-biotics help to prevent you from getting sick since sickle cell damages the spleen. When children are born with sickle cell to prevent them from getting sick they take anti-biotics from the age of two to five. When you are an infant with sickle cell getting sick can be life threatening. Anti-biotics help others with their immune system too but its vital that infants and younger children take them. Sometimes people have sickle crisis which is when you have