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Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. The disorder produces abnormal hemoglobin, which causes the red blood cells to sickle or become crescent-shaped. In people with sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. Anemia can lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, and delayed growth and development in children. The rapid breakdown of red blood cells may also cause yellowing of the eyes and skin, which are signs of jaundice. These include a higher risk of certain infections and stroke as well as a condition called acute chest syndrome, which is caused by infection or trapped red blood cells in the lungs. Sickle cell anemia is not contagious, so ymia or symptoms of ou can't catch it from someone else or pass it to another person like a cold or other infection . People who have sickle cell trait don't have sickle cell anethe disease, but they can pass the sickle cell gene to their own children. That's why it's recommended that teens who are unsure of their sickle cell status ask their doctors about testing. Plus, they can get stuck when traveling through small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to certain parts of the body. There's no cure for most people with sickle cell anemia. However, treatments can relieve pain and prevent further problems.

Sickle cell disease is a general term for a group of genetic disorders caused by sickle hemoglobin. With this disorder, sickle-shaped red blood cells are destroyed rapidly, causing anemia. Other symptoms of sickle cell anemia occur when the stiff, inflexible sickled red blood cells get stuck in small blood vessels, depriving organs and tissues of oxygen-rich blood. A serious complication of sickle cell anemia is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). The disease primarily affects Africans and African Americans. It is estimated that in the United States, some 50,000 African Americans are afflicted with the most severe form of sickle cell anemia. Pulmonary hypertension occurs in about one-third of adults with sickle cell disease and can lead to heart failure. The National Institutes of Health recommends that all newborns be screened for sickle cell disease, and testing at birth is now required in almost every state. This helps infants with sickle cell anemia get the care and treatment they need right away.

Causes of Sickle Cell Anemia

The common Causes of Sickle Cell Anemia :

  • Infection .
  • Pregnancy.
  • Fever
  • Dehydration .
  • Drop in oxygen or change in air pressure (sometimes occurs during airplane travel) .

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia

Some Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia :

  • Jaundice.
  • Fever.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Delayed growth and puberty.
  • Fatigue.
  • Paleness.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Bone pain.
  • Attacks of abdominal pain.
  • Yellow eyes/skin .
  • Shock .

Treatment of Sickle Cell Anemia

  • Blood transfusions are generally used only in extreme situations, such as severe anemia or especially bad episodes of pain.
  • Bed rest.
  • Pain relief medications .
  • Oral and intravenous fluids .
  • Oxygen to reduce pain and prevent complications.
  • The National Institutes of Health recommends that newborns with sickle cell disease take penicillin twice a day, beginning at age two months and continuing until at least five years of age.
  • Hydroxyurea is a medication that has recently been developed that may help reduce the frequency of pain crises and acute chest syndrome. It may also help decrease the need for frequent blood transfusions. The long-term effects of the medication, however, are unknown.

 


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