Sickle Cell Anemia

Created By: Ashley Nichols

All About Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell disease is a disease that affects you hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen. This disorder causes your red blood cells to be shaped like crescent rolls. This is called sickling. Sickle cell disease has many different types but the most common one being sickle cell anemia. My paper will be discussing the symptom, complications, treatment, and prognosis of sickle cell disease.


You experience some symptoms when you have this disease. The amount of these you experience depends solely on the person. You could get chest pain which is caused by sickle red blood cells in the lungs. This disease also could cause damage to the brain because the red blood cells have changed shape and can’t do their job efficiently. They can also cause nosebleeds. You may also get frequent upper respiratory infections. Another sign of this is Hand- Foot syndrome. This is when you get painful swelling in the hands and feet.

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There are many complications that come along with sickle cell disease, some being more major than others. You could get a stroke and this will happen is sickle cells block the blood flow to the brain. Acute chest syndrome is when you get a blockage of you blood vessels to you lungs. You could also get organ damage because you organs aren’t getting as much oxygen as the need to function properly. You can also get gallstones. These are when your red blood cells produce bilirubin, which if you have high levels of can cause gallstones. Another complication that you could see arise is hypertension and this is caused by having high blood pressure and getting a shortness of breath.


The prognosis of sickle cell disease is kind of hard to determine. In 1973 the average life span of someone with this disease was 14 years old. Now the average life span is about 50 years old. Women typically live longer than men with this disease do. Women usually live to be 46-50 years old. Men typically live to be about 40 to 44 years old.


There is no actual treatment to fully cure sickle cell disease yet. You still have some options open though. You could get a bone marrow transplant. This is a very risky option and is only an option for people that have severe complications. There are some medications that you doctor can prescribe to you though for pain, such as s daily dose of penicillin to help or prevent pain. You can receive regular blood transfusions of red blood cells. If you are an adult you can take the drug Hydroxyurea. This interferes with the sickling process and makes cells less sticky.