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Sickle cell anemia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Sickle cell anemia is physical condition wherein the blood is deprived or healthy RBCs or Red Blood Cells which carries required amount of oxygen throughout your body. Hence, your body organs does not receive required amount of oxygenated blood. This condition is an inherited form of anemia. Usually RBCs in the blood are round in shape and flexible. They move flawlessly through blood carrying vessels. Under prevalence of sickle cell anemia these red blood cells becomes sticky as well as rigid and coverts into sickle shaped cells or more simply a crescent moon shape.
The irregularity in the shape and stickiness may cause obstruction in the blood flow to different parts of the body which may also cause oxygen deprivation. The affected individual may also suffer from pain. However, there are treatments that may help in getting some relieve from the pain as well as prevent further aggravation and problems associate with sickle cell anemia.

Causes of sickle cell anemia:

Sickle cell anemia results out of gene mutation which causes your body to produce hemoglobin. This is a compound rich in iron and imparts red color to the blood. Hemoglobin enables RBCs to carry oxygen from lungs to other parts of the body. In case of prevalence of this disease the anomalous hemoglobin makes the RBC rigid, abnormal shaped and sticky. This condition can be genetic which can pass on from generations in autosomal recessive inheritance. Autosomal inheritance means that both mother as well as father should pass on defective gene for the child to be affected with the condition.

Symptoms of sickle cell anemia:

Like most other conditions even this physical anomaly is accompanied by several symptoms. To your information infants usually start showing symptoms of the condition after 4 months from the time of birth. Some of the symptoms may include.

Anemia:

Sickle cells are delicate and can break apart and die easily. On the other hand Red Blood cells live for approximately 120 days before they die and should be replaced with new cells. Sickle live for 10 to 20 days, as a result there is a shortage of red blood cells; this condition is known as anemia. This may lead to fatigue one of the functions of the condition.
Some other symptoms are:
 Episodes of ache
 Swelling of hands and feet
 Infections
 Delayed rate of growth
 Ocular disabilities

Treatments for sickle cell anemia:-

Transplant of bone marrow is the only potential complete cure from sickle cell anemia. However, it is difficult to find a donor; moreover the procedure has serious risk involved in it, even death. Hence, most treatment techniques for sickle cell anemia are focused on curing the symptoms and avoiding serious consequences. People with sickle cell anemia are supposed to visit their doctor regularly in order to keep a check on the RBC count.
Some treatment techniques include:
 Medications including prescription of antibiotics, pail reliever, hydroxyurea etc
 Evaluating risk of stroke
 Developing immunity to infections
 Transfusion of blood
 Oxygen supplements
 Transplant of stem cell
 Treating complications etc
There are some experimental treatments such as gene therapy, increasing nitric oxide level or medications to increase fetal hemoglobin

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