The body produces normal red blood cells, which are flexible and round and move easily through blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, red blood cells become rigid and sticky and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons.
These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block the flow of blood and oxygen to parts of the body.
- Red blood cells live for 120 days before the body needs to replace them; But sickle cells usually die within 10 to 20 days, leaving behind a deficiency of red blood cells (anaemia).
A defect in the gene responsible for the formation of hemoglobin in the body. Which changes the shape of red blood cells to become inflexible and sticky.
Both the mother and father are infected with the disease.
Both the mother and father are carriers of the disease.
One is infected and the other is a carrier of the disease.
Signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia vary from person to person and change over time, and include:
Fatigue and tiredness
Painful swelling of the feet and hands
Chronic pain attacks
Repeated bacterial infections
Committing to a comprehensive medical examination before marriage helps limit the transmission of sickle cell anemia between generations.
- If you are a carrier of the disease, you should see a genetic counselor before making the decision to have children.
- There is no vaccine to prevent sickle cell anemia, because it is transmitted through the parents’ genes.
There is no definitive cure; But there are medications that help prevent problems associated with this disease, such as:
- Medicines to relieve pain.
- Folic acid supplements to strengthen healthy blood cells. Iron supplements should not be used to treat sickle cell anemia without consulting a doctor. Because it may cause harm.
- Vaccination and antibiotics to prevent infection.
- In severe cases, the patient may need a blood transfusion or surgery.
- There is research currently being conducted on bone marrow transplantation, gene therapy, and new medications for sickle cell anemia.
If you have sickle cell anemia, you should:
- Drink plenty of fluids and follow a healthy diet.
- Avoid exposure to extreme cold or heat.
- Avoid high places such as airplanes and others.
- Make sure to provide sufficient oxygen during exercise and when you are in mountainous areas.
When exercising, you must take into account precautions that can prevent injuries and diseases associated with exercise, which include taking into account heat and humidity, drinking adequate fluids, taking rest breaks as needed, and not exceeding the current level of physical fitness
Living with the disease:
Performing some daily habits will protect the patient from attacks of the disease.
Control pain by speaking with the doctor to discuss ways to relieve pain by prescribing some medications and therapeutic methods appropriate for each patient.
Knowing the triggers of pain so that the patient can avoid them to relieve attacks.
Drink an appropriate amount of fluids and eat healthy food rich in vitamins and minerals to raise the body’s immunity and thus reduce the rate of infectious diseases.
Sleep enough hours every night until the body regains balance.
Refrain from smoking because it reduces the level of oxygen in the lungs.