Sickle Cell Anemia – A Hereditary Condition

Sickle Cell Anemia – A Hereditary Condition

Sickle cell anemia is an anemic condition which is genetically inherited and causes the red blood cells to form in an abnormal way. Normal red blood cells are round in shape and carry oxygen throughout the body, however, with sickle cell anemia the cells are more of a “C” shape or crescent moon which causes them to become lodged in blood vessels which slows down the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. These cells also die within ten to twenty days and as the bone marrow can not replace these red blood cells at a fast enough rate, this causes the condition of anemia.

Primary Symptoms

The primary symptoms are the same as the symptoms which are associated with all types of anemia which include tiredness and fatigue. Other symptoms can include chest pain, cold hands and feet, dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, and pale skin.

With sickle-cell anemia, individuals often have chronic pain due to a crisis which occurs when the clumping of sickle cells in the bloodstream causes the flow of blood to the tiny vessels of the organs and limbs to be blocked.

When a crisis occurs, the person experiencing it may suffer from acute pain. This pain typically lasts a few hours, but in severe cases, it may extend up to a few days. sickle cell anemia is most commonly diagnosed in infants after the age of four months old and primarily seen in people of African American descent.

The Treatment of Anemia

Treatments for sickle cell anemia are primarily focused on relieving the pain and complications caused by the symptoms associated with this disease as the only potential cure for sickle cell is a bone marrow transplant which has high risk factors which can be fatal and finding a donor with an exact match is extremely difficult.

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Most individuals with sickle cell anemia are under constant medical care involving specialists dedicated to the treatment of this disease which involves a wide variety of treatments and medications.