Disease A to Z
What is Sickle Cell?
The term sickle cell disease (SCD) describes a group of inherited ( that the disease is passed by genes from parents to their children ) red blood cell disorders. People with SCD have abnormal hemoglobin, called hemoglobin S or sickle hemoglobin, in their red blood cells. Sickle-shaped cells are not flexible and can stick to vessel walls, causing a blockage that slows or stops the flow of blood. When this happens, oxygen can’t reach nearby tissues.
Can someone with Sickle Cell infect others.?
A person cannot catch it, like a cold or infection, from someone else.
Sickle cell disease is present at birth, but most infants don’t show any signs until they are more than 4 months old. Symptoms of sickle cell disease vary. In some people, they are mild, in others severe and requiring hospitalization.
The most common signs and symptoms are linked to anemia. Anemia is a condition in which blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. People with anemia do not have enough red blood cells, which deliver oxygen. As a result, they may feel tired or weak. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of sickle cell anemia.
The most common signs and symptoms are linked to anemia. Anemia is a condition in which blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells.
People with anemia do not have enough red blood cells, which deliver oxygen. As a result, they may feel tired or weak. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of sickle cell anemia.
Many people with sickle cell disease live with chronic pain, especially in their bones. However, sudden pain that can occur anywhere in the body is also a common symptom of sickle cell disease. This pain is called a”sickle cell crisis.”
Sickle cell crises often affect the bones, lungs, abdomen, and joints.
Other symptoms of sickle cell disease include:
• Shortness of breath and/or dizziness
• Coldness in the hands and feet
• Pale skin due to anemia
• Jaundice, or yellow eyes and skin
• Chest pain
• Leg ulcers that do not heal
Early diagnosis of sickle cell disease is very important because many complications can be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment. Sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. It’s also possible for doctors to diagnose sickle cell disease before birth. This is done using a sample of amniotic fluid or tissue taken from the placenta. (Amniotic fluid is the fluid in the sac surrounding a growing embryo. The placenta is the organ that attaches the umbilical cord to the mother’s womb.) This test can be done in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
The goals of treating sickle cell disease are to prevent or relieve pain; prevent infections, organ damage, and strokes; treat anemia; and control complications.
SICKLE CELL DISEASE IS PRESENT AT BIRTH, BUT MOST INFANT DON’T SHOW SIGNS ANY UNTIL THEY ARE MORE THAN 4 MONTH OLD.