What is sickle-cell anaemia?
Also known as Haemoglobin SS disease, it is one type of anaemia. It is a hereditary disease where by the red blood cells are damaged and their shape distorted. The damaged red blood cells can not therefore function as normal/required.
As they are weak, they are easily destroyed leading to the development of anemia, due to the reduced count of them in your blood.
It is transmitted from parents to their children, whereby the child inherits two sickle-cell genes, one from each parent.
The child posses a sickle-cell gene from the father and another from the mother. Where the child acquires only one, it is not referred to as sickle-cell anemia since it is not a disease yet.
This condition of having only one gene is known as sickle-cell trait.
The chances of a child developing sickle-cell anaemia are 25 percent. There is a 5o percent chance that a child will only be affected by the sickle-cell trait whereas 25 percent is that the child will be normal, without any sickle-cell genetics.
Sickle cell anaemia is noticeable at birth.
Causes of sickle-cell anaemia.
It is caused by an abnormal haemoglobin oxygen carrying protein within the red blood cells. This protein damages the red blood cells. This protein leaves your red blood cells in a distorted state, fragile and susceptible to diseases.
A result of a weakened immunity system, sickle-cell anemia is also caused by deficiencies of several essentials.The deficiency of minerals such as zinc increases gene mutilation affecting the red blood cells. Deficiencies in amino acids and trace minerals, which support healthy cell development, increase the risk of developing anaemia.
Like other types of anemia, lack of sufficient iron affects the production of new blood cells, the hematopoietic process, in the bone marrows.
Signs and symptoms of sickle-cell anaemia.
Its signs and symptoms are manifested through complications brought about by the disease.
The patient usually feels fatigued and tired. This is because the red blood cells in charge of distributing oxygen to all cells in the body are minimal and weakened by anemia. This effect translates to other disorders such as headaches, paleness of the skin and shortness of breath.
The patient undergoes sever pain, referred to as a crisis moment.
This affects the body, with major concentration of pain in the abdomen and joints.
Due to shape of the damaged red blood cells, they block blood flow in the vessels altering the distribution of the blood. This cuts the supply of oxygen to those tissues, causing acute pain. Depending on the level of development of sickle-cell in a patient, the crisis moment may take hours to days. The crisis moment may occur periodically or occasionally, depending on how one manages the disease.
Sickle cell leads to several other illnesses.
It can influence the development of stroke, whereby the brain blood supply is altered for a long period.
As sickle-cell affects the growth of cells in the body, it can cause stunted development. This disease alters the growth rate in patients, specifically children.
Sickle cell can also cause gall stones by way of accumulated damaged red blood cells in the body.
Treatment and management of sickle-cell anaemia.
Being a hereditary disease, it is a lifelong disease without cure.
Sickle cell anaemia can have several high risk treatment options though.
The only potential cures for this type of anemia are bone marrow transplant and blood transfusion; which is highly expensive and fatal.
Medical professionals concentrate more on avoiding and managing crisis moments, easing the pain and preventing further development. The use of medications helps improve your immune system boosting resistance of diseases.
There are several strategies you should adopt to prevent development of sickle-cell anemia. They help you to improve your health and you general wellbeing.
Drink plenty of water to reduce the chances of experiencing a sickle-cell crisis.
Avoid temperature extremes; too cold or too hot affects your blood system and could lead to a crisis moment.
Reduce or avoid pressure, strain and stress. This makes your blood to concentrate in specific parts of your body, and by that, a crisis moment occurs.
Take a healthy, balanced diet to improve your immune system.Supplement your dietary intake where possible to benefit from all the essential nutrients, not just because of sickle-cell anemia but to prevent other diseases too.
- Avoid temperature extremes; too hot or too cold.
- Always intake a healthy, balanced diet. where possible, supplement your diet too.
- Consult your physician regularly.
- Acquire all the knowledge you can about sickle-cell anaemia.