Sickle Cell Anemia Disease

Created By: Katie Kline

What is it?

Sickle Cell Disease occurs when your blood cells aren't round. They have a crescent shape to them. The job of a red blood cell is to carry oxygen. The cells are smooth and small and can fit through the tiny capillaries. When you have sickle cell disease, the cells get caught and reduce blood flow leaving organs and cells without oxygen. This fatal disease can lead to many things.


There are many symptoms of sickle cell disease. One symptom is Anemia which causes fatigue due to lack of red blood cells. Other symptoms are pain that you get when blood vessels are blocked and swelling of the hands due to not enough blood flow. If your cells don’t get enough oxygen, they cannot grow. If your cells cannot grow, then you cannot grow and you may have a delayed birth. In some cases, you may have blurriness to the eyes if they do not get the oxygen they need. This may result in blindness after a while.


Sickle cell disease can lead to many complications. Some of these are stroke and acute chest syndrome. These occur when blood is blocked off from the brain or the lungs. When there is high blood pressure in the lungs it is called pulmonary hypertension which leads to difficulty in breathing. Any of your organs can be affected by this if they do not receive the oxygen they need. When red blood cells are broken down, bilirubin is produced. Increased level of bilirubin causes gallstones. Many complications can occur with sickle cell disease, but it is getting to be less of a problem.


If you have sickle cell disease, there is a cure. It is a bone marrow transplant, but it is hard to find a donor due to the risk involved in this procedure. To treat this, many doctors will just try and relieve symptoms and do their best to prevent complications. Some of these treatments include medications or antibiotics, blood transfusions, and supplemental oxygen. None of these will totally cure it but they will all help out in making your life as normal as it can be.


Prognosis for this disease is looking better and better as time goes on. The treatments are getting more advanced and more aggressive, therefore they are producing better results. In 1973, the average life span for someone with this disease was fourteen years old. Now it can be up to fifty years and in some cases a little higher than that.


Sickle cell disease is something that I hope no one ever has to live with, but I would rather have them live with it now than thirty years ago. Things are improving and so are lives. Your blood cells may not get all of the oxygen they require but there are ways for them to get adequate supply. If you do have to live with this disease, one would require regular check-ups with the doctor. They will do the best that they can.