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Sickle Cell Anemia

The problem is that sickle cell anemia affects about 72,000 Americans in the United States. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease in which the body is unable to produce normal hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein. Abnormal hemoglobin can morph cells that can become lodged in narrow blood vessels, blocking oxygen from reaching organs and tissues. The effects of sickle cell anemia are bouts of extreme pain, infectious, fever, jaundice, stroke, slow growth, organ, and failure. Sickle cell anemia hurts many people today in fact it hurts about 72,000 Americans. But some doctors are finding cures for this inherited disease.

This disease causes mainly strokes and fever. With this disease a stroke is not predictable, a stroke can happen as early as a one month old as a baby. It can hurt a person really bad because it causes them to not be able to do many things like can’t play sports, and things that gets your heart pumping because if the red blood cells gets clogged up it can causes a stroke because oxygen can’t flow. Most Americans who have sickle cell anemia are of African descent. The disease also affects Americans from the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of South America, Turkey, Greece, Italy, the Middle East and East India.

Since sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease if both parents have the trait for sickle cell, their baby’s chances of having sickle cell disease is one in four. Many doctors are trying to find cures for this disease by trying the solution on patients. Doctors at Emory University and University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Chicago. Doctors in Emory University in Atlanta credited an experimental stem cell transplant that for the first time is not from a related donor. This transplant cured the inherited disease from Keone Penn who is 13 years old from Georgia.

He suffered a stroke at 5 years old and had a fever of 106 degrees, I almost died (Ferraro, Newspaper Article) What the doctors did was replaced the boy’s bone marrow with stem cells taken from the umbilical cord blood of an infant not related to him. Dr. Ruby Bellevue of New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn has patient that he wants to do the transplant procedure on, but he is waiting for more studies to come out to see what the long-term effects are. Some effects could be rejection, complications, and/or death. For many years, doctors could only treat the sickle cell disease with blood transfusions and antibiotics.

But until now, the only hope for a cure has been through bone marrow transplants, dangerous and rarely performed because they require a match between donor and the person receiving it. The good thing about stem cell transplants is does not require as precise a match. For Keone the 13 years old kid was worth it. I am happy. This has been my wish my whole life, to not have sickle cell. (Ferraro, Newspaper Article) The doctors of University of Mississippi Medical Center use Doppler ultrasound to examine head and neck blood flow.

The ultrasound measures the speed of the blood in the vessels. Early detection can help and decrease the risk of stroke. The program involved in this problem is the National Institutes of Health declared September as Sickle Cell Awareness Month. The educational and research organization have promoted awareness of sickle cell disease, a group of inherited disorders characterized by anemia which means a reduced number of red blood cell and the production of sickle hemoglobin is a molecule found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.

My suggestion for dealing with this problem is to go to the doctor to get an examination if you play any sports or go for a jog or run and experiment any difficulty breathing. If you don’t have trouble breathing, maybe if you feel dizzy or feel like you about to blackout when you do something I recommend going to the doctors for an examination. It is better to find out the problem first before you will experiment a stroke a high fever that can cause a death. I think early detection help a lot and could save your life.

You could find out your parents medical background or file since sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease. This problem which sickle cell anemia is important because it affects 72,000 Americans and one of every 500 African-American is born with the disease and one in every 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanics. People can die from this disease, and many kids died at a young age. I think in the future doctors will find a cure with no side effects or long-term effects. Right now the have a temporary cure for this disease. I really hope they will find a cure for this disease that really works.

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Home » Disease » Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle Cell Anemia

When we often think about diseases as germ we may catch from another person, like HIV. Sometimes people categorize a disease as the results of doing to much of what is bad for you, like sunbathing to cancer and unprotected sex to HIV. But what most people don’t realize is that some people are born with disease that is determined by their genetic structure. As many as 1 in 12 African-Americans are born with this disease known as Sickle Cell Anemia. Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disorder, characterized primarily by chronic anemia and periodic episode of pain.

The problem involves hemoglobin, a component of the red cells in the blood. The hemoglobin molecules in each red blood cell carry oxygen from the lungs to the body organs and tissues and bring back carbon dioxide to the lungs. In sickle cell anemia, the hemoglobin is defective. After the hemoglobin molecules give up their oxygen, some of then may cluster together and form a long rod like structure. These structure cause the cell to become stiff and assume a sickle shape. Unlike normal red blood cells, which are usually smooth and round, these sickle cells cannot squeeze through small blood vessels.

Instead the stack up and causes blockages that deprive the organs and tissue of oxygen-carrying blood. Unlike normal red blood cells that last about 120 days in the bloodstream, sickled red cells die after 10 to 20 days. Because they cannot be replaced fast enough, the blood is chronically short of red blood cell, a condition called anemia. Sickle cell anemia is caused by an error in the gene that tells the body how to make hemoglobin. The defective gene tells the body to make the abnormal hemoglobin that results in deformed red blood cells.

Children that inherit copies of the defective gene from both parents will have sickle cell anemia. Children who inherit the defective sickle hemoglobin gene from just ne parent will not have the disease but will carry that trait. Individuals with the lone sickle cell gene usually do not have symptoms , but they can pass the sickle hemoglobin on to their children. The error in the hemoglobin gene results from a genetic mutation that occurred many thousands of years ago, in parts of Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and India.

A deadly form of malaria was very common at the time, and malaria epidemics caused genetic mutation. Studies show that in areas where malaria was a problem, children who inherited one sickle hemoglobin gene and who, therefore; carried the sickle cell trait had a urvival advantage, unlike the children who had normal hemoglobin genes. As populations migrated, the sickle cell mutation spread to other Mediterranean areas, further into the Middle East, and into the Western Hemisphere. In the United States where we have no malaria epidemics this provides no survival advantage.

Instead, it may be a serious threat to the carrier’s children, who may inherit both genes and then have sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is common among millions of people throughout the world. It is really common among people whose ancestry goes back from Sub-Saharan Africa, Spanish speaking regions, Saudi Arabia, India, and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy. In this country, it affects approximately 72,000 people, most of whose ancestors come from Africa. the disease occurs in approximately 1 every 500 African-American births and 1 in every 2,500 Hispanic-American births.

Approximately 2 million Americans, or 1 in every 12 African-Americans carry the sickle cell trait. Sickle Cell detection is imperative for children at a very young age so that children who have the disease can receive proper treatment. Most states now perform a blood test on all new born infants. This test is done the same ime other routine newborn testing and screening. Hemoglobin electrophoresis is the most widely used diagnostic test. If the test shows the presence of sickle hemoglobin, a second test is performed to confirm the diagnosis.

These test also tell if the child carries the sickle cell trait. Treatment for sickle cell is constantly being improved, although there is no cure doctors can do a great deal to help sickle cell patients. Basic treatment of the painful crises relies on painkilling drugs and oral and intravenous fluids to reduce pain and prevent complications. Blood transfusions are used to treat and to prevent some of the complications of ickle cell anemia. Transfusions correct anemia by increasing the number of red blood cells in circulation.

Transfusions are used to treat spleen enlargement in children before the condition becomes life threatening. Regular transfusion therapy also can prevent recurring strokes in children at high risk of crippling nervous system complications. The first effective drug treatment for adults with severe sickle cell anemia was in early 1995, when a study conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute showed that daily doses of the anticancer drug hydroxyurea reduced the frequency of painful crises and of chest syndrome in atients.

Patients taking this drug also needed fewer blood transfusions. Sickle cell anemia patients with severe chest or back pain that prevents them from breathing deeply may be abla to avoid serious lung complications with acute chest syndrome by using a incentive spirometer. this is a small plastic device, shaped like a tube, with a ball inside. The patient must breathe into it hard enough to force the ball up in the tube, so using it helps the patient breathe more deeply. Regular health maintenance is critical for people with sickle cell anemia.

Proper nutrition, good hygiene, bed rest, protection against nfections, and avoiding stress, are the keys to good health. The future to sickle cell anemia treatment is unlimited scientists have learned a great deal about this disease in just the last 30 years, what causes it, how it affects people, and how to treat some complications. They also have begun to have success in developing some drugs that will prevent the symptoms of sickle cell anemia and procedures that should ultimately find a cure.

Clotrimazole, an over the counter medication commonly used to treat fungal infections, is under investigations a treatment to prevent the loss of water from the red blood cells that leads to sickling. It is hoped that this medication, used alone or with other antisickling agents, may eventually offer an effective long term therapy. The ultimate cure for sickle cell anemia may be gene therapy. In sickle cell anemia, the gene which switches on production of an adult hemoglobin shortly before birth is defective.

Two approaches to the gene therapy are being explored. Some scientists are looking into weather correcting the gene and inserting it into the bone marrow of people with sickle cell anemia will result in the production of normal adult hemoglobin. Others are looking at the possibility of turning off the defective gene and imultaneously reactivating another gene that turns on production of fetal hemoglobin In both cases , the research is at a very early stage.

Progress is being made, however; and there is a real possibility of an eventual cure for sickle cell anemia. Today with good health care and education many people with sickle cell anemia are in reasonably good health and are living productive lives. In fact in the last 30 years the life expectancy of a sickle cell anemia infected person has increased. One can only hope that with technology today and god willing we will find a cure for this disease.

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