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What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Even though the disease attacks mostly black people, majority of black people don't really understand the disease. Some are aware that the disease is hereditary, but if the consequences of the disease are ignored or misread, it can be fatal if it's not properly treated and maintained. The saddest element is that there is no CURE for this disease.
Scientists do not understand the reasons why the disease only attacks people who have originated or descended from certain geographic regions.

Medical Research: Hematology, Immunology and Transfusion Medicine

There is not enough research done for this disease in the United States, and this malady has become the forgotten disease. The reason being is that medical research does not really go toward spending enough time and money to find a cure. There is some good and effective medicine, but Penicillin is still the most prescribed medicine by the doctors, and most of the new and improved medicine is very expensive for the average family.

With more awareness and money, researchers can focus on finding a cure.

Understanding The Disease.
Sickle Cell anemia is a genetic disorder that affects the hemoglobin molecules in the blood, which makes a person become anemic, meaning that the blood does not carry enough oxygen, as a result making a person sick. People with sickle cell have an abnormal type of hemoglobin, which causes the red blood cells to become hard and sickle shaped.

People are affected by these factors:

Most people with Sickle Cell genes are of African or Latin descent: Africa and South and Central America, including the Caribbean.

Mediterranean countries like Spain, Turkey, Greece and Italy are also locations where most have the Sickle Cell gene. Sickle Cell Anemia produces a group of symptoms known as cell crises. These are episodes of pain that occur with varying severity, and are usually accompanied by periods of remission. The risk for sickle cell anemia increases with any activity that boosts the body’s requirement for oxygen; such is illness, physical stress, or high altitudes. These painful crises can last from hours to days; they affect the bones of the back, the leg bones, and the chest. These crises can be severe enough to require hospitalization for pain control and intravenous fluids.

Sickle Cell has episodic crises that consist of these conditions:

  • Fever
  • Chest Pains
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart failure
  • A Sudden change in eyesight
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Severe Anemia can cause:
    * Weakness
    * Shock
    * Loss of consciousness 

Complications of Sickle Cell include:         
* Liver disease
* Seizures
* Delayed Growth

Sickle Cell Anemia cannot be prevented because it is a genetic disorder. However, there are some general guidelines that may keep the condition under control. Get professional advice from your doctor.

  1. Penicillin:: until now, penicillin has been one of the basic and effective treatments that physicians have been prescribing for a long time, it is largely recommended for newborns and people up to 5 years of age.
  2. Hydroxyurea:the first highly effective medication for the treatment of Sickle Cell disease, which means that there is a big hope in the future of medicine. This is the medicine used in the fight against cancer; it's still a valuable drug for some slow-growing types of the disease.
  3. Basic Treatment:
    * Bed rest
    * Pain relief medications
    * Oral and intravenous fluids
    * Oxygen     

There is no cure for the Sickle Cell Disease, only some effective and expensive treatment.

Be aware of the environment, because the presence of the malaria parasite has an affect on the heterozygous (Ss) population.     

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children with sickle cell disease who are 2-5 years of age receive pneumococcal vaccine to help with the the disease and its symptoms.