Sickle Cell Anemia: Causes and Symptoms
World Sickle Cell Disease day was observed recently to spread awareness about this genetic disease. It is a type of hemolytic anemia in which the RBCs are destroyed and removed from circulation at very high rate. SCA is a genetic disorder with abnormal shape of hemoglobin, is responsible for the sickle cell disorders.
Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is characterized by the abnormal shape of red blood cell. This abnormality is caused by a defect in the gene which is responsible for the production of β-globin chain. It alters the structure and functions of the hemoglobin that leads to sickle cell disorders. The symptoms of sickle cell first appear after 5-6 months after birth, early symptoms of sickle cell are; painful swelling of the limbs, fussiness or fatigue due to anemia, change in skin colour to pale yellow (jaundice) and icteris (whitish eyes). In the later stage acute pain episodes (sickle cell crises) occurs, which can strike anywhere in the body. Other problems include chronic pain, severe anemia, infections, and delayed growth, brain, kidney, lungs and organs complications.
Currently there are only few options available for its treatment such as gene therapy and bone marrow transplantation. Management and treatment of certain symptoms are also possible. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle by taking suitable diet, regular exercise, enough sleep can help minimize the symptoms. Pain can be relieved by using various methods and therapy. Psychic counseling can provide mental strength to fight against SCD.