Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is an acquired type of anemia– a condition in which there aren’t adequate healthy red blood cells to bring sufficient oxygen throughout your body.
Generally, your red blood cells are flexible and round, moving easily through your capillary. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells end up being rigid and sticky and are formed like sickles or crescent moons.
How Does Sickle Cell Anemia Affect Your Body
These irregularly shaped cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood circulation and oxygen to parts of the body.
There’s no remedy for most people with sickle cell anemia. However, treatments can ease pain and help prevent even more problems associated with SCA.
SCA is a blood condition impacting around 100,000 individuals in the United States, the majority of them African-American. It is a complicated disease, and according to a February 2015 research study in “Anemia,” even some family physicians discover it hard to handle. SCA can affect any organ system in the body and can cause numerous complications.
Blood and the Immune System
All patients with sickle cell disease will experience chronic anemia. Due to the fact that there is an issue with the shape of red blood cells, they break quickly and get clogged in blood vessels. Severe episodes of anemia can also happen in an individual with SCA.
These episodes in some cases require treatment with blood transfusions. In addition, those with SCA might have deteriorated immune systems and be more susceptible to infections. For this reason, individuals with sickle cell anemia must look for treatment right away if they have a fever or become ill.
Pain and the Nervous System
Pain is among the significant symptoms of sickle cell disease. Pain can be caused by sickle-shaped blood cells getting clogged in blood vessels and can take place anywhere in the body. Common sites include the arms, legs, abdomen and chest. By age 2, about half of children with sickle cell anemia will have painful swelling of the hands or feet, a syndrome called hand-foot syndrome.
This is typically one of the first symptoms of sickle cell anemia. Individuals with sickle cell disease are likewise at increased risk for strokes. These strokes may be symptomatic or asymptomatic and might take place as early as age 1. Approximately 20 percent of people with sickle cell disease may have a stroke prior to age 18.
The Lungs and the Heart
The lungs are a significant organ affected by sickle cell disease. Those with sickle cell can have asthma and pneumonia. In instances where the blood flow is cut off to the lungs or there is infection, severe chest syndrome can establish. Acute chest syndrome is defined as fever, chest pain, cough and x-ray changes that occur in a person with SCA.
In adults and children with the disease, this is a typical cause of death and the second most frequent factor for hospitalization. In time,SCA can likewise result in changes in the heart, causing bad heart function and potentially heart failure.
Other Organ Systems
Any organ system in the body can be affected by sickle cell disease. Individuals with this disease are at risk for kidney failure, liver disease, gallstones, eye disease and bone disease. A few of these complications can be lethal, and anyone with SCA experiencing symptoms need to look for medical treatment immediately. If you or somebody you understand struggles with SCA, speak to your doctor to find out more.
Risk factors for Sickle Cell Anemia
The risk of acquiring SCA comes down to genes. For a baby to be born with SCA, both parents must bring a sickle cell gene.
The gene is more typical in families that originate from Africa, India, Mediterranean usas, Saudi Arabia, the Caribbean islands, and South and Central America. In the United States, it most commonly affects blacks.