Sickle Cell Anemia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Sickle Cell Anemia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Sickle Cell Anemia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Sickle-Cell Anemia is a hereditary blood disorder whose patients’ bloodstreams harbor Hemoglobin S, which sometimes makes the red blood cells to assume a crescent shape. The sickle-shaped red blood cell causes an obstruction to blood flow along the blood vessels. The result is damage and death of body tissues which do not receive enough blood. It is after a given red blood cell empties its oxygen to the respective body organs and tissues, that it once again becomes crescent shaped (Living with Sickle Cell, 2005).

The red blood cells of a sickle-cell anemia patient have many characteristics that the normal one lacks. While the red blood cells of the normal hemoglobin are soft, round, and having smooth texture, sickle-shaped cells are stiff and sharp, making them get stuck easily in blood vessels. As a result, the smooth flow of blood through blood vessels is hampered, thereby starving body organs and tissues of oxygen. On the contrary, the soft, smooth and rounded features of a normal red blood cell, allows it to easily even through the tiniest blood vessels, carrying with it oxygen to the body’s respective blood organs and tissues (Living with Sickle Cell, 2005).

Sickle-Cell anemia manifests itself in various ways. A painful experience is symptomatic of sickle-cell. Thus it is the most common sign of sickle-cell infliction. Only 30% of sickle-cell patients do not suffer pain. Parts of the human body that experiences pain are inclusive of the hands, feet, joints, bones, as well as the upper and lower parts of the abdomen (Living with Sickle Cell, 2005).

Furthermore, the infestation of the human body with sickle-cell may take the form of general body weakness, difficulty in breathing, coupled with the spontaneous paleness of the skin and headache. In addition, victims of this complication are typical of yellowing of the skin or eyes, accompanied by general body fever. Sickle-Cell infliction makes the human body malfunction and in dire need of medical interventions (Ogier & Dozario, 2001).

It is wise of anyone to go for early diagnosis of the disease, if he/she is to avoid succumbing to it. It is for this reason that many countries and states within America conduct tests to babies ahead in time. To adults already experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, a blood test, medically referred to as electrophoresis, is always conducted to ascertain whether one has been afflicted with the dreaded illness. It serves to show whether one is carrying the abnormal hemoglobin or not (Ogier & Dozario, 2001).

There are no known preventive measures that can be employed to avert an individual’s possible affliction with sickle-cell anemia. However, steps can be taken to thwart or reduce the feelings and complications that come with sickle-cell infection. A sickle-cell patient ought to have a good eating habit. What this means is that victims should have a balanced diet, and avoid missing their meals. Underfeeding and attempts by women already afflicted with the disease to skip meals are counterproductive to the gains, as they aggravate the situation by further weakening their bodies (Ogier & Dozario, 2001).

To date there is no cure of sickle-cell anemia. What doctors do is to administer treatments that seek to treat their symptoms. Medical practitioners suggest healthy lifestyle as a way of controlling the disease. Some of the healthy practices that patients should undergo are; frequent transfusion program or an exchange blood transfusion. This has the effect of reducing HBS (Hemoglobin S) to less than 20 %, especially for severe stages of the disease (Patel, 2010).

Finally, they recommend that the patients should avoid as much as possible the frequencies with which their bodies come into contact with other sick people. This is for the simple reason that the disease weakens people’s immunity, hence making their victims more susceptible to being infected by other forms of diseases (Patel, 2010). In summary, sickle-cell anemia is a disease that needs quick medical interventions if the patients are to escape their deathbeds.




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