Sickle Cell Anemia

By: Taylor Decker

Other Names

  • sickle cell disease

  • HbS disease

  • hemoglobin S disease

  • Hemoglobin SS disease

  • Sickle Cell disorder

Cause

  • This is caused when you inherit an abnormal hemoglobin. The hemoglobin is an oxygen carrying protein inside the red blood cells. The abnormal hemoglobin that you inherit causes distorted red blood cells.
  • A mutation is another thing that causes the disorder.
  • The gene that is affected is the Hemoglobin-Beta gene.
  • The chromosome that is affected is chromosome 11.
  • This is inherited as autosomal recessive.

Symptoms

  • People with Sickle Cell Anemia require regular medical care.
  • The main symptoms that they have are unplanned episodes of severe pain, swelling in the hands or feet, abdominal swelling, fever, pale skin or nail beds, yellow tint to the skin or whites of the eyes, and any signs or symptoms of stroke.
  • People who are a candidate for this disorder is African Americans.

Treatments and Cures

  • Infants who have Sickle Cell Anemia are treated with antibiotics and vaccinations. Mild pain is treated with over-the-counter medications, heating pads, rest, and plenty of fluids. Most severe pain is treated with emergency room visits, or hospital, or visits to the clinic. Sickle Cell Anemia can also be treated with a medicine called hydroxyuria. Blood transfusions are commonly used to treat worsening Sickle Cell Anemia. Starting at the age of 2, children with this disease must have routine ultrasounds on the head to prevent strokes.
  • There is no way that Sickle Cell Anemia can be prevented because it is something that you are born with.
  • There is hope that the things scientists are researching will lead to better treatments for the disease.

Population Affected

  • About one in every 350-400 African American infants in the United States are born with Sickle Cell Anemia.
  • Sickle Cell Anemia affects about 50,000-70,000 people in the United States.
  • Most common in India, Africa, the Mediterranean, Central and South America.

Tests

  • There is a way to test to see if you will be born with a disease. This is called prenatal testing. People who are planning to have kids should consider talking to someone about having their baby tested before the baby is born to make sure that they are not passing the disease down to their children.

Children in the Future

  • As the child gets older, they will not need as much assistance, however, it is the parents job to teach them about the disease so they know how to take care of themselves. They need to make sure that they maintain a healthy lifestyle, take steps to control and prevent complications, and learn ways to cope with pain.
  • Someone with Sickle Cell Anemia can have children in the future, but there is a chance that they could pass it on. There is a chance that the child will not end up with the disease, but there is also the chance that the child could get it.

Long-Term Effects

  • The long-term effects of this disease is the severity of the disease, frequency of complications, and having recommended preventive exams.

Current Research Status

  • Scientists are doing research and they are hoping that the research that they are doing will help them to find better treatments for the disease. There is no cure for Sickle Cell Anemia, but hopefully by doing this research we can find better treatments and also a cure.

Sources

Finke, Amy. "Sickle Cell Disease in Children." N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.


Green, Eric D. "Learning About Sickle Cell Disease." Learning About Sickle Cell Disease. N.p., 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.


Neall, Lisa Forman. "Sickle Cell Disease." Genetics Home Reference. N.p., 28 Apr. 2015. Web.

30 Apr. 2015.


NIH. "How Is Sickle Cell Anemia Treated?" - NHLBI, NIH. N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.