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Sickle Cell Disease Essay

This research informs the reader about Sickle cell disease. The goal is to raise awareness by describing what the disease is and where it originated. It gives advice on how to recognize signs in a crisis and how to help prevent any further symptoms. This focus uses facts from medical websites such as Web MD and Mayo Clinic. This research highlights every thing there is to know about sickle cell disease through detailed descriptions of where it comes from, how it is passed on, what it does to the body, and what can be done to help prevent it from getting really bad. Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that is a genetic disease, which is inherited through parents. The bone marrow produces abnormal red blood cells that are a crescent shape. These red blood cells then get suck in the veins and cause many medical difficulties. This review will not investigate any personal experiences or experiences of any person. The sources mainly conclude that there are various researches trying to reveal helpful information for suffering patients. Researchers from the FSCDR administration found out that regular blood transfusions can reduce the occurrence of strokes and attacks in sickle cell patients.

Regular monthly blood transfusions can help raise red blood cell counts and therefore reduce sickling and blood clots causing health complications. Further research into preventative remedies includes bone marrow transplants. Written by Vanessa Wasta this research goes in depth about how bone marrow transplants for patients with sickle cell disease work. Explaining the procedure and requirements of it. Then in another article Saint Louis University Medical Center researchers study therapy to relieve sickle cell pain. This study investigates treatment for young adults who are suffering from a pain crisis. St. Jude Children’s Hospital did research on how drug reduces hospitalizations and what the cost is treating young children with sickle cell anemia. The article goes in depth on how a new drug is demonstrated to be effective for treatment of adults and children with sickle cell anemia reducing hospitalizations and cut annual estimated medical cost by 21 percent for affected infants and toddlers.

Further more a research found by Victor R. Gordeuk, MD discussing the basic transitional research program in sickle cell disease. Explaining how there are two components of the research. First is to study the neurodevelopmental status in children younger than 4. The second is to expose high school students to a laboratory research to cultivate interest in scientific research related to sickle cell disease. Johns Hopkins Medicine then shows how low vitamin D levels raise anemia risk in children. The low levels of “sunshine” vitamin D appear to increase a child’s risk of anemia, according to new research. The study is believed to be the first one to extensively explore the link between the two conditions in children. Then Georgia health Sciences University discovers that nitric oxide impacts the source of the sickle cell pain crisis. They reveal that nitric oxide gas appears to directly impact the source of the classic pain crisis of sickle cell disease found from research.

The main findings that I have come across is describing where it comes from, how it is passed on, what it does to the body, and what can be done to help prevent it from getting really bad. The genes you inherit determine the different forms of sickle cell. However, the most common form of sickle cell is sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell disease is a disorder in which the body forms sickle-shaped red blood cells (sickle-shaped means the blood cells are shaped in the form of a crescent). Normal red blood cells are disc-shaped that are similar to doughnuts but without the hole in the middle. The normal cells move quite easily through the blood vessels and contain a protein called hemoglobin. The hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Unfortunately, sickle cell contains hemoglobin called sickle cell hemoglobin or hemoglobin S. Sickle cell tends to block the flow of blood through the blood vessels of the limbs and organs, which may cause severe damage in the organs. “Sickle cell anemia occurs because an abnormal form of hemoglobin (HbS) is produced. HbS molecules tend to clump together, making red blood cells sticky, stiff, and more fragile, and causing them to form into a curved, sickle shape”. Miller, R. (2012, September 01).

Sickle Cell Anemia. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/blood/sickle_cell_anemia.html. It gives a higher possibility that the carrier of sickle cell disease (SCD) can obtain infections.

Sickle cell anemia is caused by mutation in the gene that tells your body to produce hemoglobin. The sickle cell gene is passed down from generation to generation in a pattern called auto-somal recessive inheritance. In other words, both the mother and the father must be carriers, or pass down the defective form of the gene in order for the child to be affected by SCD. However, if only one parent carries the sickle cell trait, the disease would not affect the child, but that child will become a carrier of the sickle cell trait. With one normal hemoglobin gene and one defective hemoglobin gene, people that carry the trait produce both normal and defective sickle cell hemoglobin. Although their blood only contains a certain amount of sickle cells and may not experience any symptoms, they have a very high possibility of passing that defective trait onto their offspring if the carrier has interaction with another carrier of the disease.

Because an individual that has sickle cell is actually born with the disease, they experience symptoms after the first four months of the infant’s birth. “About 2,000 babies are born with sickle cell disease each year in the United States.” Sickle Cell Disease Symptoms, Causes, Treatments. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/pain-management-sickle-cell-disease. There are six main symptoms: anemia, episodes of pain, hand-foot syndrome, frequent infections, delayed growth, and vision problems. In the symptoms of anemia, sickle cells are fragile. They break apart easily and die leaving the carrier with a shortage of red blood cells. Red blood cells normally die out within 120 days; however, for people that have sickle cell, their red blood cells die out within 10 to 20 days. Because of this shortage, the body cannot obtain the oxygen it needs in order to feel energized. Episodes of pain are exactly how it sound, yet they are called crises. Pain occurs when each sickle-shaped red blood cell blocks the flow of blood through the blood vessels. Pain may occur in the chest, bones, joints, and abdomen.

One of the first signs of sickle cell in an infant is the swelling of the hands and the feet. The swelling is caused by the sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking the blood flow to the hands and feet. Infections are a very common symptom that a sickle cell carrier has to undergo. Sickle cells can damage the spleen and because the spleen is the organ that fights off infections, the body is more vulnerable to infections. Due to the shortage of red blood cells in the body, the body is not obtaining enough nutrients and oxygen that it needs to grow.

As a result of that, the infant or child experiences a delayed growth. Another symptom includes vision problems. We see due to tiny blood vessels that are supplied to our eyes. In sickle cell, those blood vessels may be plugged up with sickle cells damaging the retina. Sickle cell symptoms are mainly determined by how severe the sickle cell may be. When the disease becomes very severe, some symptoms may include paleness, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, yellowing of the eyes and skin, painful and prolonged erection, confusion, urinary tract infection, gallbladder infection, and more.

Sickle cell is a diverse disease; it is an inherited blood disease that affects people mainly of African ancestry. This disease also affects other people of different ethnic groups such as people who are of Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern descent. In the United States, between 90,000 and 100,000 people have sickle cell disease. One in every twelve African American carries the sickle trait and two million people carry the trait, meaning they carry a gene for the disease. The disease occurs amongst one out of every five hundred African Americans and one out of every thirty-six thousand Hispanics birth. Due to sickle cell anemia, this disease can lead to a variety of complications, including stroke, acute chest syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, organ damage, blindness, skin ulcers, and priapism.

Acute chest syndrome is a life-threatening complication. It causes chest pains, fevers, and lack of breath. In many cases, this syndrome is caused by a lung infection, but in this specific situation with sickle cell, it is caused by sickle cells blocking the blood vessels in your lungs. Sickle cell anemia may also cause pulmonary hypertension, which means high blood pressure in the lungs. It causes shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, which can eventually be fatal. “Sickle cell anemia varies from person to person. Some people who have the disease have chronic (long-term) pain or fatigue (tiredness). However, with proper care and treatment, many people who have the disease can have improved quality of life and reasonable health much of the time.” What Is Sickle Cell Anemia? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca/.

There is no cure for sickle cell anemia; however, specialists are working on a cure at this very moment. One thing that people should do prior to making appointments for checkups, if they are a parent of a child with sickle cell disease, or if they have sickle cell disease, note any symptoms that they have experienced, write down questions to ask, and bring someone for moral support whether they are a friend or a family member. “Different techniques work for different people, but it might be worth trying heating pads, hot baths, massages or physical therapy”. Sickle cell anemia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sickle-cell-anemia/basics/coping-support/con-20019348.

Sickle cell disease is an unheard of disease to many people and there’s no clear physical appearance to tell if someone is diagnosed with the disease unless they mention it, but it is a disease that may have fatal results and it is a disease that needs to be studied more in depth. These researches explain different things that are being worked on to help prevent sickle cell pain and other medical complications. With the different researches it is found that therapy, blood transfusions, and transplants can be helpful. In the informative research that is about to be conducted there would inform the readers about sickle cell disease, what it is, and what can be done to help prevent pain and any other health complications.

1. Miller, R. (2012, September 01). Sickle Cell Anemia.

Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/blood/sickle_cell_anemia.html Sickle cell anemia article presents information about the disease for kids and teens to understand. It introduces topics such as where it comes from and how it is inherited. It lets the other peers know information on how it can be treated and pain crisis prevented. 2. Sickle cell anemia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sickle-cell-anemia/basics/coping-support/con-20019348 This article describes what sickle cell is and breaks down in simpler terms what can be done to help patients with this disease. It shows pictures and demonstrations on how the red blood cells work in the body. 3. Sickle Cell Disease Symptoms, Causes, Treatments. (n.d.). Retrieved

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