WHAT IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

Sickle Cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. It results in an abnormality in hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells). Normal red blood cells are circular and move through small tubes in the body to deliver oxygen. However, sickle cells are hard, sticky, and crescent or sickle shaped red blood cells that clog the flow the small tubes. This causes attack of extreme pain, anemia, swelling, and bacterial infections. These attacks can be set off by a variety of stressors including extreme temperatures, unstable temperature changes, rigorous activity, stress, dehydration, infections, and high altitudes.

 

Sickle-cell disease occurs when a person inherits two abnormal copies of the hemoglobin gene, one from each parent. A person with a single abnormal copy has the sickle-cell trait, but does not usually experience symptom. They are also referred to as carriers of the disease. Diagnosis via blood tests can occur at birth and sometimes during pregnancy.

 

Sickle Cell Disease is the most common inherited blood disorder. It occurs in 1 in 500 African Americans (1 in 12 African Americans carry the trait). Although the disease mostly affects African Americans (and others of direct African descent), the disease also affects Hispanic Americans from Central and South America, as well as people of Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, and Mediterranean descent.

SICKLE CELL COMPLICATIONS AND SYMPTOMS

There are a wide range of complications and symptoms that result from Sickle Cell Disease, and are experienced on an individual basis. These complications include:

             

  1. Chronic pain attacks (Sickle Cell Crisis)

  2. Anemia

  3. Jaundice

  4. Infections

  5. Acute Chest Syndrome

  6. Stroke

  7. Leg Ulcers

  8. Eye Damage

  9. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

  10. Damage to organs (including lungs, liver, heart, kidneys), tissues, or bones

  11. Gallstones

  12. Low red blood cell count

  13. Delayed growth

THE TYPES OF SICKLE CELL DISORDERS

HEMOGLOBIN SS

Hemoglobin SS, or Sickle Cell Anemia, occurs when one receives two sickle cell traits from both parents. It is considered to be the full form of the disease. 

HEMOGLOBIN SC

Hemoglobin SC, occurs when one receives a sickle cell trait from one parent and an abnormal gene from another. This is a more moderate form of Sickle Cell Disease.

HEMOGLOBIN SICKLE BETA-THALASSEMIA

Hemoglobin Sickle Beta-Thalassemia is a variation of the disease that is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner.  

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Tuscaloosa, AL  35406

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© 2018 by Sick•Of•It Foundation.