Archive for inherited disease

Sickle Cell Anemia

Posted in Europe, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, Our Health, South America with tags , on July 7, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Sickle Cell Anemia is a chronic blood disorder that causes hemoglobin to crystallize. Hemoglobin in red blood cells carries oxygen from the lungs to organs and tissues. In sickle cell anemia, red blood cells may:

  • Cluster
  • Stiffen
  • Form sickle-shapes
  • Fail to circulate sufficiently

This condition is potentially fatal.

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Sickle Cell Anemia is a genetic disease occurring in the following heritages:

  • African
  • Native American
  • Hispanic

It also occurs in people from Italy, Greece, India, and the Middle Eastern countries.

Children of parents who both carry two of the sickle cell gene are at the highest risk of inheriting the disorder. Although sickle cell anemia is present at birth early signs might not develop until age 4 months. Inexpensive blood screening test are available to be done at birth.

Symptoms first appear in infants as fever, abdominal pain, and pneumococcal bacterial infections.  As they grow they will experience symptoms associated with common anemia symptom such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and feeling cold. Episodes of severe pain,  called crisis,  are  also a symptom. Insufficient blood flow and shortage of cells may cause:

  • Damaged retinas that may lead to blindness
  • Damage to Kidneys, liver, lungs, bones, and nervous system
  • Swelling in the hands and feet accompanied with fever
  • Stroke
  • Slow growth
  • Bacterial infections
  • Ulcers in feet and legs
  • Yellowing in skin and eyes

Treatment focuses on the individual symptom and  include blood transfusions, oral antibiotics, and a drug called Hydroxyurea.

Deaths Per Year

Countries

Number of Deaths

United States

477

Brazil

219

Dominican Republic

76

Venezuela

40

Colombia

34

Cuba

30

Panama

29

Bahrain

14

Mexico

6

Canada

6

Kuwait

5

Germany

5

Puerto Rico

4

The Bahamas

4

Nicaragua

4

Argentina

3

Costa Rica

3

Ecuador

2

Barbados

1

El Salvador

1

South Africa

1

Peru

1

Israel

1

United Kingdom

1

Australia

1

Egypt

1

Read more on how these statistics were derived.

Learn more about Sickle Cell and genetics @ Learn.Genetics