Sickle Cell Anemia

Causes

Sickle Cell Anemia is caused by a mutation of the gene for hemoglobin. This mutated form of hemoglobin is called hemoglobin S. The 11th chromosome is affected by this disease. This disease is recessive, and anybody can get it if they are born from parents who have or carry the disease.

Symptoms and Effects

There are many symptoms for Sickle Cell Anemia. They include bone pain, frequent infections, stunted growth and weight loss, and acute chest syndrome. Sickle Cell Anemia is most common in people from African and Mediterranean decent. This disorder is able to have prenatal tests. The baby is usually at least 10 weeks old before these tests are performed. This disorder cannot be prevented, other than not having children if you carry the disease. Although not having children to prevent the spread of this disease, many people can and are able to have children of their own. The offspring of those affected by Sickle Cell Anemia will have a chance at having the disease as well, but it depends on the status of both parents and the chances they create for the disease in a child.

Treatment and Outlook

Treatment for a child with Sickle Cell Anemia usually deals with prevention of the symptoms associated with the disease. This includes managing pain symptoms, treating infections quickly, and preventing pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary Hypertension is a large increased in blood pressure. As the child grows older, they will need more treatment that deals with dangerous health conditions that affect the elderly, such as preventing stroke and treating organs that have been affected negatively from this disease. This child will probably experience more health problems as they age. Since treatment and prevention of the symptoms from Sickle Cell Anemia has improved over the years, the child will most likely live to be around 50 years old. The cure for Sickle Cell Anemia is a bone marrow transplant, but this can cause health issues for the patient later in their life. Research for better and more easily accessible treatments and cures for this disease is still taking place and has shown potential for better cures in the future. There are not any new cures being developed currently, other than improving the treatment of bone marrow transplants.