What is Sickle Cell Anemia?
Sickle cell anemia is a type of anemia due to genetic abnormalities where the form of red blood cells is abnormal, resulting in blood vessels lack of healthy blood supply and oxygen to spread throughout the body.
Under normal conditions, the red blood cell formation is round and supple so that it is easy to move in the blood vessels, while in sickle-cell anemia, red blood cells are shaped like a sickle and easily attached to small blood vessels. Consequently, the flow of red blood cells containing hemoglobin or oxygen-carrying proteins is blocked to cause pain and tissue damage.
Sickle cell Anemia usually shows symptoms when the baby is 6 months old. This disease occurs in many people from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Mediterranean. There is currently no cure for sickle cell anemia. The treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing further problems due to sickle cell anemia.
Sickle Cell Anemia Risk Factors
The only risk factor for sickle-cell anemia is hereditary. A baby will be born with a sickle-cell anemia if both parents carry a sickle cell gene.
Sickle Cell Anemia Causes
Sickle-cell Anemia caused by mutation of genes inherited from both parents (should be both) or called autosomal recessive. In a child who inherits the mutation of genes only from one parent, it will be the carrier of sickle cell anemia and does not show any symptoms.
Mutation of genes that occur in the people with anemia causes various disorders in the body. It occurs because the production of red blood cells is abnormal.
Sickle cell Anemia can be given the condition:
- Cold air
- On a long-haul flight
- Drinking too much alco**hol
- Emotional stress
What are the signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia?
Common symptoms of sickle cell anemia:
- Chronic Anemia
- Weak and tired
- Swelling of the hands and feet because of blood vessels obstructed
- Yellow eyes, skin, and lips
- Late growth
- Severe pain in the chest, abdominal area, joints and bones, which can last for a matter of hours to weekly
- Experiencing impaired vision
- Recurrent infections in infants.
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary or genetic illness. Even so, the symptoms of new sickle cell anemia will appear when the baby is about five months old.
There may be some signs and symptoms not mentioned above. If you feel worried about a symptom that your child is experiencing, please consult a physician.
Sickle Cell Anemia Diagnosis
Many checks are required to ensure diagnosis and notice of complications.
Interview and Physical examination
In the early stages, the doctor will conduct a full interview and thorough physical examination of the sufferer.
Then followed by laboratory examination in the form of hemoglobin, leukocytes, platelets, renal function (ureum, creatinine, and urine screening), liver function (SGOT, SGPT, and bilirubin), electrolytes, and oxygen saturation in the blood.
If it is suspected to have sickle-cell anemia from these examinations, then the next step is to make sure by conducting electrophoresis examination. The examination is done by taking the blood of the sufferer and then put in so that the electrophoresis to see what “ribbon” will appear.
If you get high levels of HbS, then it is certain that there is no sickle cell anemia.
To see the complications of sickle cell anemia, doctors will also ask for various radiological examinations such as:
The chest X-ray photo to see the condition of the lungs, especially when suspected that the sufferer experienced acute chest syndrome characterized by the severe chest pain and tightness.
CT-Scan to see any bone abnormalities caused by the death of many bone cells because the bone marrow is experiencing “fatigue “
Doppler ultrasonography to early detect stroke risk
Echocardiography to see the swelling of the heart and hypertension in the pulmonary veins.