Sickle Cell Disease – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
Sickle cell disease is a type of blood related disorder that affects the red blood cells.
Hemoglobin, as we all know, is the key substance in the red blood cells which carries oxygen to the lungs and other parts of the human body.
Hemoglobin A contains a regular and perfect red blood cell. It is the abnormal case where the red blood cells contain hemoglobin S or C which is a different type of blood cell hemoglobin substance.
In this medical condition, red blood cells are often forced to squeeze into sickle form.
That makes it so difficult to pass red blood cells through blood vessels, especially smaller ones.
These cells generally block thin blood vessels and minimize the blood flow to some body parts thus damaging them gradually. This Sickle cell disease is a lifelong disease, and there are currently no effective treatments to completely cure it.
Causes of Sickle Cell Disease
The illness is a purely hereditary disease. It means a person who received it would have inherited his parents’ defective gene. The hemoglobin gene generally inherits two copies of both the parents in humans.
When a person inherits two defective genes from both of his parents in sickle cell, there is a greater chance that he will be able to develop a sick gene which inherits parental disease.
The risk of getting sickle cell disease is very low in a condition where the child inherits only one defective gene from one parent, and healthy from another.
But in this condition, the newborn baby can be called a ‘sickle cell trait’ which means he carries a sick gene and in the future he can transfer it to his kids.
Symptoms of Sickle Cell Disease
The main symptoms are constant pain in feet , hands, back and lots of other parts of the body. Anemia is common among sickle cell disease patients.
Inactivity and fatigue are most likely caused by sickle cell disease, along with the above-mentioned symptoms. Skin becomes pale and has yellowish appearance.
The pain with suction feeling on different parts of the body mostly on hands and feet puts into a big risk of being affected by sickle cell disease. These pains generally extend continuously for hours and hours and carry a high intensity during nights.
Treatments Available for Sickle Cell
That illness is not cured in a day or a few weeks. It’s a lifelong process where you need to maintain yourself to minimize the symptoms of sickle cell thus increasing scope to lead a normal life.
Coming to the issue, controlling pains in the body is the key point. A prescribed schedule of painkilling medicine will minimize the regular pains. Frequent blood transfusions can easily be the best available method of treatment for patients with sickle cell disease.
It reduces the risk of strokes, and also minimizes the effects of the disease. Newly accumulated blood can prolong a patient’s lifespan for some longer, but continuous blood transfusions could lead to increased blood toxicity.
Nutrition and Sickle-Cell Anaemia
Nutrition ‘s role in sickle-cell anaemia is by no means settled but some points are clear. Firstly, it helps to keep alcohol consumption modest. Every now and then a drink or two is all right but overdoing can easily trigger a sickle-cell crisis.
Second, it is important to emphasize plant foods-vegetables, beans, grains, and fruits in your daily routine. In particular, vegetables and beans are rich in the folic acid needed for the formation of blood cells.
These foods also give your protein in abundance without the use of animal products. This is important, as sickle cells can clog the tiny blood vessels of the kidney, causing it to gradually lose its filtering capacity.
Animal proteins speed up loss of function in the kidneys. Getting your protein from sources in plants helps preserve your kidneys.
Third, taking a daily supplement with vitamin-minerals is good insurance. In addition to supplying folic acid and zinc, which are low in some people with sickle-cell disease, it also supplies vitamin B12, which is missing from grains , beans, vegetables and fruits.
Iron supplements should only be used when your doctor is prescribing them. While some people with sickle-cell disease are low in iron, others are overloaded with iron especially if they have had numerous transfusions of blood.
Some care providers have also suggested the use of vitamin E, 450 IU per day, although there is currently only modest evidence that it does help.
STEM CELL THERAPY(STC30) FOR SICKLE CELL DISEASE
The goal of SCT is elimination of the sickle erythrocyte and its cellular progenitors and replacement with donor hematopoietic pluripotent stem cells which give rise to erythrocytes that express no sickle hemoglobin (HbS). This will eventually reduce Hb S levels to those associated with the trait condition. It has the possibility of preventing serious complications from SCD which can cause extensive morbidity and early death.
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