Sickle Cell Anemia

What is It? How can I get It? How do I know if I have It? Can I get It from my boyfriend? If I do have It, how can I treat It? Questions, after questions, all pertaining to one subject, sickle cell anemia, a disease that has affected the lives and homes of many people. Not knowing all you can know about this disease is the 5% added to your chances of recieving it. WHAT IS IT? Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disease which can cause bouts of pain, damage vital organs or even cause death in early childhood years. It occurs when a person inherits two sickle cell genes or a combonation of a sickle cell gene plus any one of many abnormal genes. Hemoglobin is responsible for carring oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. The change that occurs in the oxygen flow causes sickle cell symptoms. In a person with sickle cell during the release of oxygen from the red blood cells, the cell becomes distorted. The cells form a rigid banana or sickle shape which can clog blood vessels. The sickle cells tend to become trapped and then destroyed in the liver or spleen. A shortage of red blood cells can cause anemia. WHAT CAN IT DO? The symptoms of sickle cell anemia are paleness, shortness of breath, fatigue, infections that speed up the destruction of the red blood cells. Other symptoms include, fast or troubled breathing, frequent coughs, screams when touched, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. There are two common types of sickle cellanemia (SS disease) or sickle “C” disease. A less common form known as Sickle Beta Thalassemia. The affects of the disease can be greatly seen or never seen. THE CAUSE OF PAIN The cause of pain is when the cells become “stuck” in the blood vessals. When the cells get stuck, they cause cell pile-up and block blood from getting to the tissue. This is called a “Crisis”. The crisis can be so severe that it might need to be treated in a hospital. Though it can be mi…

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