Sickle cell disease shouldn’t be a new word to you. This is is an inherited disease caused by mutations in the beta-globin gene that makes hemoglobin.
The functions of hemoglobin in the red blood cells are to pick up oxygen and transport it to all body parts.
Healthy red blood cells are smooth, circular like a doughnut but they don’t have holes. They are also flexible.
This enables them to move through the blood vessels easily. But sickle cells are stiff and sticky. they can’t move through the blood vessels easily.
There are also shaped like a sickle, hence their name.
What is sickle cell disease?
As you’ve rightly read from above, sickle cell disease is a genetic condition. this mutation affects the shape and functions of the red blood cells.
This, in turn, affects the ability of the blood to transport oxygen all through the body.
Difference between sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait
An individual will have sickle cell when he/she inherits a sickle gene (S) from both parents. The individual will have the genotype SS.
Someone can have a mixture of healthy and unhealthy hemoglobins in their red blood cells. These individuals have the trait of the sickle cell but they don’t have the disease.
Their genotypes are AS. These are known carriers and they are not to marry people with the same genotype or sickle cell disease.
What have antibiotics got to do with it?
Antibiotics are used in treating bacterial infections. They can’t treat this genetic condition but they are given to sickle cell patients because they are prone to infections and other health problems.
These antibiotics given would relieve the symptoms of infections and also lessen the pains and discomforts that come along with sickle cell treatments.
Diagnosis and symptoms of sickle cell
A blood test is carried out to diagnose sickle cell disease. This condition is mostly detected at birth during the routine screening of newborn babies. Fatigue is the main first symptom of this disease and this fatigue is caused by anemia.
Other common symptoms of this disease are jaundice, swellings in the hands and feet, etc.
Statistics and crisis prevention
Sickle cell affects millions of people worldwide. Sickle cell disease affects more than a hundred thousand children in Nigeria and a lot of deaths are recorded yearly because of sickle cell disease.
It is important to know your genotype before marriage. This would save a lot of innocent babies from suffering. It would also save you from suffering and spending all your resources to save your child’s life.
Healthy nutrition, good personal hygiene, and a positive mindset can help people with sickle cell disease.
There is an effective way to cure sickle cell disease, which is through a bone marrow transplant. This procedure is very risky and comes with its own side effects including death.
There are lots of natural ways to handle and manage sickle cell disease well without undergoing a bone marrow transplant.