Essay on Sickle And Sickle Cell Disease

Essay on Sickle And Sickle Cell Disease

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Sickle Cell Disease is a genetically inherited disease that causes abnormal hemoglobin, called hemoglobin S or sickle hemoglobin, in red blood cells. This disease, commonly known as SCD, currently affects about 90,000-100,000 Americans, a majority being African-American. It is inherited when both parents of a child carry the sickle cell trait, referred to as SCT, and cannot be congenital if only one parent is a carrier; though a child may be born with the trait if only one parent is a carrier. Sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease are not the same. Persons who carry the trait are generally healthy and do not endure the signs, symptoms, and serious health complications one with the disease does. If both parents are carriers of the sickle cell trait or have the disease, the child will have a 25% chance of being born with sickle cell disease, a 50% chance of being born with a single trait, making them a carrier, and a 25% chance of being born with normal hemoglobin.
The importance of hemoglobin in red blood cells is to deliver the oxygen to the lungs and transport it to the entirety of the tissues in the body. Normal red blood cells have hemoglobin that are disc-shaped, allowing for essential flexibility through small and large blood vessels to deliver the oxygen needed. These normally round, red blood cells are substituted for a “sickle”, or crescent, shape when a person is diagnosed with SCD. The sickle-shaped red blood cells become stuck to the walls of vessels and cause a blockage of blood flow, resulting in a deprivation of oxygen to the tissues and organs nearby. When this occurs, severe and sudden pain, known as a “crisis”, occurs. Most pain episodes effect the chest, abdomen, lower back, and limbs. This happens without ...


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...ave any complications until about 5-6 months of age. Signs and symptoms arise around this age owing to something called “fetal hemoglobin”. Fetal hemoglobin protects an infant’s red blood cells from sickling until about 5 months. Around this age the fetal hemoglobin will begin to transform and change in to adult hemoglobin resulting in the beginning of the sickled cells. Fetal hemoglobin differs from adult hemoglobin as it is created while the baby is in utero and needs a higher oxygen concentration than they can obtain from their mother. Babies acquire their oxygen from the mother’s blood stream, which is less concentrated than the oxygen we breathe in. The potential risk of oxygen deprivation is met with a higher affinity of oxygen pulled from specialized red blood cells, the fetal hemoglobin. This morphing of cells triggers the beginning of complications from this

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