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World Sickle Cell Day : Know about Sickle cell anemia facts

World is celebrating ‘World Sickle Cell Day’ on 19 June, annually in order to help increase public knowledge and awareness regarding SCD.

SCD affects millions of people around the world, including both adults and children. It is a potentially fatal disease and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is one of the main causes of premature death amongst children under the age of five in various African countries.

So, let us know the facts, cause, symptoms and treatment about this perilous disorder.

What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell disease is group of inherited Red Blood Cell disorders. It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin found in red blood cells. This leads to a rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances.

Normally, your red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body. Red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before they need to be replaced. But sickle cells usually die in 10 to 20 days. Because of this, you may not have enough red blood cells. This is a condition called anemia.

Causes

The main cause of sickle cell anemia is defective gene, sickle cell gene by mutation of the gene.

Sickle cell anemia is inherited by autosomal recessive condition that means People with the disease are born with two sickle cell genes, one from each parent.

If you are born with one sickle cell gene, it's called sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait are generally healthy, but they can pass the defective gene on to their children.

Symptoms

The effects of SCD vary from person to person and can change over time. Most of the signs and symptoms of SCD are related to complications of the disease. Here are some symptoms of sickle cell anemia

  • Anemia
  • Frequent infections
  • Vision problems
  • Dactylitis
  • Pain episode
  • Organ Damage

Treatments

Bone marrow transplant, also known as stem cell transplant, offers the only potential cure for sickle cell anemia. For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must be a close match. It is generally only used in children with severe condition. Finding donor is more difficult as gene should be closed match so it can be siblings.

Treatment might be include medications which can be useful for pain relive and prevent other complications:

  1. Antibiotics
  2. Pain reliever
  3. Chemo drug like Hydroxyurea
  4. Vaccination for immunity
  5. Blood transfusion
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