Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorder of the red blood cells. To understand this condition and learn about its prevalence, symptoms, and treatment options, all you need to do is brush up on some basic sickle cell anemia facts – and you’ll be well aware of the disease.
Normally, the red blood cells in the body are disc shaped, but in the case of patients who are suffering from sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells are crescent shaped or sickle shaped. This is primarily what causes sickle cell anemia.
Their abnormal shape obstructs the movement of these red blood cells in the blood vessels, which in turn affects the proper supply of oxygen throughout the body. This results in severe sickle cell anemia complications, in the form of strokes and organ damage.
Five Interesting Sickle Cell Anemia Facts
Here are five sickle cell anemia facts to help you understand the condition better.
It Is A Genetic Condition
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited genetic condition. For the normal production of red blood cells, two normal genes are required (one from each parent). If one of the genes is defective, the individual carries a sickle cell trait.
In such cases, the affected individual will not have any sickle cell anemia symptoms, as disease is caused only when both the genes are defective.
It Affects African-Americans More
Worldwide, more than 500,000 babies are affected by sickle cell anemia in a year. Although it is more prevalent in populations across Europe and Asia, a majority of the patients who are affected by sickle cell anemia are African-Americans.
One in every 400 African American children is born with sickle cell anemia.
It Reduces The Risk Of Malaria
Sickle cell anemia is found more commonly in areas where the prevalence of malaria is high. However, individuals with sickle cell trait are less likely to be affected by malaria, as studies have shown.
Although the relation between sickle cell anemia and malaria has not been confirmed, the chances of malaria-related deaths among those afflicted with sickle cell anemia is far less.
It Does Not Affect The Pregnancy Cycle
A woman with sickle cell anemia can have a healthy pregnancy.
By taking early prenatal care and monitoring the development of the child during pregnancy, women with sickle cell anemia can undergo a normal pregnancy. To find out if the unborn child has been affected by sickle cell anemia or a similar trait, a specific test is conducted during the second trimester.
It Is Chronic, But Treatable
Sickle cell anemia is a chronic disease, but it is treatable. Patients with this disease suffer from extreme pain, as the flow of red blood cells in the body is affected because of their abnormal shape.
In order to deal with anemia and pain medications, patients need repeated blood transfusions. The disease can be managed efficiently through everyday care and regular sickle cell anemia treatment.
It can also be cured through bone marrow or stem cell transplants, wherein the normal healthy cells that form blood are transplanted from a normal person into a patient who is suffering from the condition.
Now that you know the basic sickle cell anemia facts through the above points, you can easily understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options.