Sickle Cell Anemia Essay

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Sickle Cell Disease is a condition where there is not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Another name for sickle cell disease is sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is inherited as a simple recessive condition. In normal red blood cells, the cells are usually flexible and round. However, in sickle cell disease the red cells become rigid and sticky. They are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. Because these cells are irregular, they can get stuck in small blood vessels. The small blood vessels slow or block blood flow. Without enough red blood cells in circulation a person's body cannot get the adequate amounts of oxygen needed to feel energized. There are many signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia. The sickle cell disease usually shows up after an infant is approximately four months old. Anemia is one sign of sickle cell disease. Red blood cells usually live for 120 days before they need to be replaced by new ones. However, sickle cells die off after ten to twenty days. Another symptom of sickle cell anemia is episodes of pain. Episodes of pain are one of the major symptoms of sickle cell anemia. The pain develops because sickle-shaped red blood cells block the flow through tiny blood vessels to your abdomen, joints, and chest. These episodes of pain that occur periodically are called crises. Some patients diagnosed with sickle cell anemia only experience pain a few times in a year, whereas; others can experience various amounts of crises a year. Sometimes if the pain is severe patients may be hospitalized. The pain can also occur in the bones as well. To continue, hand-foot syndrome is also another symptom of sickle cell anemia. Usually a patient will have swollen hands and feet. The s... ... middle of paper ... ...ficance by the World Health Organization. To continue, 70 percent of sufferers of sickle cell disease live in Africa. Sickle cell disease is found more commonly in people who are descendants from the Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean, and African heritages. This is because those geographic regions are most prone to malaria. The gene variant for SCD is related to malaria. Therefore, wherever malaria occurs there is sickle cell disease. It is also believed that people who carry the sickle cell trait are less likely to have severe forms of malaria. It is estimated that sickle cell disease will affect 90,000 to 100,000 American. Sickle cell disease affects a large percentage of people in Central America as well as significant numbers in South America such as Brazil, and the Caribbean. Sickle cell disease is the most frequently occurring genetic disease on the earth.
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