SICKLE CELL DISEASE



WHAT IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

  • The sickle cell Disease is a inherited genetic disorder that affects the red blood cell. People who have sickle cell disease have red blood cells that contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin, hemoglobin S.

  • Hemoglobin is the main substance of what a red blood cell is made of. It helps red blood cells transport oxygen from the air inside our lungs to all the other parts of the body. Normal red blood cells have hemoglobin A, but abnormal ones have hemoglobin S and C. Normal red blood cells with hemoglobin A are soft and can pass through blood vessels, but red blood cells with hemoglobin S become stiff and change shape and cannot pass through small blood vessels easily and eventually block them.

  • Mainly the sickle cell disease effects people in Africa, the Mediterranean, Arabia, and South Asia. It is uncommon for anyone in a different part of the world to have it.

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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

  • Hemoglobin S causes the red blood cells to become sickle shaped (crescent shaped) and then they have trouble passing through blood vessels and may block small ones which lets less blood reach that part of the body and the vessels evenutally become blocked which causes lung tissue damage, sudden bursts of pain, and stroke. It also damages many organs like the spleen, kidneys and the liver. If the spleen is damaged by the sickle cell disease then victims can be easily overwhelmed by certain bacterial infections.

  • The severity of symptoms varies from person to person. Some people have mild symptoms, while others are frequently hospitalized for more serious complications.

  • When the sickle blood cells block the blood vessels it may cause heart failure and cause the victim to die. Also, the disease can cause the red blood cells to break down early and that leads to anemia. Anemia can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and slow growth and development in kids. Also, the rapid breakdown of red blood cells may also cause yellowing of the eyes and skin.

HOW IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE INHERITED?

  • Sickle cell disease is inherited from parents similar to way physical traits are inherited. The type of hemoglobin a person gets in their red blood cells depend on what hemoglobin genes the person inherits from his or her parents. Sickle cell disease is determined by a single pair of genes (one gene from each parent).

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HOW IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE TREATED/CURED?

  • There is no real cure for sickle cell disease but a new medicine named hydroxyurea can lessen the amount of crises (bursts of pain in parts of the body), but does not cure the disease.

DICUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Where is the sickle cell disease mainly found?

2. How can the sickle shaped red blood cells possibly cause death ?

3. What do the deformed blood cells do to a blood vessel?

4. What other blood disorder can sickle cell disease lead to and how is it inherited?


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