SICKLE-CELL ANEMIA

by: Rachel Ronczka

DEFINITION:

Sickle-Cell Anemia is a serious disease in which the body makes sickle or crescent shaped red blood cells.

NEWBORN SCREENING:

After the baby is born, the baby's heel is pricked to get a few drops of blood. Later these will be sent to a lab to get tested on for multiple diseases, including Sickle-Cell Anemia. If the test comes back positive then a second test will be done just to know for sure that the baby has Sickle-Cell Anemia or is a carrier of this disorder.

DISCOVERY:

The disease Sickle-Cell Anemia was first discovered in 1910, by a man named Dr. James B. Herrick.

LIFE EXPECTANCY:

Today, advanced treatments have given people with this disorder the ability to live into their 40's, 50's and older.

SIDE EFFECTS:

-symptoms can be very strong and painful or mild and little pain is felt

-tired or weak

-shortness of breath/dizziness

-fatigue is most common

-chronic bone pain

-headaches

-cold feet and hands

-pale skin because of anemia

-yellow eyes and skin (jaundice)

-chest pain

-leg ulcers that don't heal

-serious, long-lasting anemia can cause death or damage to many body organs

-a sickle-cell crisis can occur which is sudden pain anywhere in the body but most common in the bones, lungs, abdomen and joints

FUN FACTS:

-the disorder is inherited through a recessive allele

-sickle cell is most common in people whose families come from Sub-Saharan Africa, South or Central America (especially Panama), Caribbean Islands, Mediterranean countries, India and Saudi Arabia

-single gene mutation

-when a human has hemoglobin S and no hemoglobin A,he or she has this disorder

-even if someone is a carrier for this disease then they will have both shapes of blood cells

TREATMENT & MEDICATION:

-heating pads

-over the counter medicines

-Hydroxyurea (a medicine used to treat pain)

-blood transfusions (to treat worsening anemia)

SUPPORT GROUPS:

-Sickle Cell Support Group

-Sickle Cell Always Networking (S.C.A.N.)

-Project Self Care

-Sickle Cell Parent Group

-Adult Peer Support Group