Sickle-cell Anemia

anemia

Sickle cell anemia is basically a disorder of haemoglobin. It is distinguish by abnormally shaped red blood cells which result in blockage and damage to small blood vessels. It eventually results in organ damage. The disease occurs more commonly among people whose ancestors originated from the tropical and sub-tropical region, where malaria is or was common. It’s important to note that humans with one of the two alleles of sickle-cell disease show less severe symptoms when infected with malaria.

One of the allele is the haemoglobin S (HbS), which differ from the normal haemoglobin A (HbA) by one amino acid only. HbA carryout its normal function of taking oxygen to every cells in the human body. But HbS, on the other hand, where oxygen level is low, forms crystals which change the shape of the red blood cells (sickle shape). Sickle-cell conditions are inherited from our parent in much the same way as eye colour and texture.

The control of malaria in some part of the world, will result in condition flavouring the retention of the HbS disappear. But because of intermarriage among people the HbS gene has spread and people are also now receiving better medical care.

Cause

It is cause by mutation in the haemoglobin gene, which result in sickling. It is characterized by one of the allele is the haemoglobin S (HbS), which differ from the normal haemoglobin A (HbA) by one amino acid only.

Symptoms

  • Both normal red blood cells and sickle-shaped cell are present
  • Acute and chronic complication such as; vaso-occlusive crisis, anemia, aplastic crisis, Stroke etc.
  • fever
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing

Treatment

Children born with the disease undergo observation and require management by a haematologist to ensure they remain healthy. They usually take a folic acid daily for life as well as penicillin daily from birth to five years of age; this is due to their immature immune system.

People suffering from different crisis such as vaso-occlusive crisis, may require pain management. Antibiotics and blood transfusion are also utilized to help people suffering from the disease.

Sickle-cell anemia is inherited from one’s parents. There is no known cure.

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