Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder that is inherited from both parents in which the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. In sickle cell anemia, the hemoglobin in red blood cells links together; resulting in the red blood cells to become rigid and a C-shaped. These deformed cells block blood and oxygen flow in blood vessels. Sickle cells deteriorate quicker than normal red blood cells, which results in anemia.
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder. For a person to have sickle cell anemia they must have received two copies of the gene, one from each parent. A person with the sickle cell trait only received one sickle cell gene and a normal hemoglobin gene. People who have the sickle cell trait do not develop sickle cell anemia however they can pass the deformed gene on to their children. People with just the trait do not face the complications caused by the disorder.
Due to the blockage of blood flow in the arteries sickle cell anemia causes many complications. The trademark of sickle cell anemia is a sickle cell crisis, which causes sudden serve pain. A common problem is acute chest syndrome, which is triggered by an infection or by blockage of blood vessels in the lungs. Which if left untreated, can be cause organ damage or even death.
Each red blood cell in the human body contains about 280 million hemoglobin molecules. Hemoglobin is the most important component of red blood cells. Red blood cells are composed of a protein (globulin) and a molecule (heme), which binds to iron. Normal hemoglobin causes regular oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. In the lungs, the heme, which binds to iron, component takes up oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. The red blood cells carry the oxygen to the body's tissues, where ...
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...creases, therefore speeding the sickling process. Sickle cells also have a shorter life span (10 - 20 days) than normal red blood cells (90 - 120 days). Every day the body produces new red blood cells to replace old ones, but sickle cells become destroyed so fast that the body cannot keep up. The red blood cell count drops, which results in anemia. This gives sickle cell disease its more common name, sickle cell anemia.
The only true way to determine if a person has sickle cell anemia is through a blood test, and if a person does have sickle cell anemia there are ways to help avoid crisis and the pain associated with the disease. There are medicines that help to prevent attacks. Anti-inflammorty medicines help with the joint pain associated with this disease.
Sickle Cell Disease." University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2014.