Sickle Cell Anemia and What Causes it

Anemia is the most common blood disorder in the world. It can be inherited or develop later on in life. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia that can become very serious if it is not treated when detected.

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorder that cause an insufficient amount of red blood cells to be present in the body. Without enough healthy red blood cells, the body’s organs will not receive the correct amount of oxygen to function correctly. This is due to misshapen red blood cells. Normally, red blood cells are circular and can move freely throughout the blood vessels. When a person has sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells have the shape of a sickle, or crescent. This makes it difficult for the red blood cells to move throughout the blood vessel. The sickle shaped cells will become stuck in the blood vessel and prevent the blood from freely flowing to the body’s organs. The cells are also very fragile and can break apart easily, leaving you with a shortage of red blood cells.

There are many different symptoms of sickle cell anemia. Fatigue, decreased energy and weakness are all symptoms of sickle cell anemia. These symptoms are associated with all types of anemia and this one is no different. Episodes of pain are a very common symptom of sickle cell anemia. The pain will likely be in your chest, abdomen, bones and joints. The pain is caused by the oddly shaped cells trying to maneuver their way through the blood vessels. The pain can become very intense and can last anywhere from a few minutes to days at a time. Swollen hands and feet are commonly present when you have sickle cell anemia. It is caused by the blockage in the blood vessels. Jaundice, vision problems and frequent infections are also common symptoms of sickle cell anemia. In some severe cases, abdominal swelling, fever and stroke can occur due to sickle cell anemia.

Sickle cell anemia is an incurable disease. There is however, treatments that can help reduce the symptoms caused by sickle cell anemia. The best treatment is a bone marrow transplant. In fact, a bone marrow transplant may get rid of the sickle cell anemia for good. Blood transfusions are also a form of treatment. They are most common for severe cases and large amounts of blood loss. The most common form of treatment is the use of medications to control the symptoms. Antibiotics and pain medications are commonly prescribed for people that suffer from the disease. They help fight off infections and relieve the pain. Sometimes, a person will have an oxygen supplement, such as a breathing mask, that can help get oxygen to the body’s organs. Also, there are some experimental treatments that are being tested to treat sickle cell anemia. They are controversial, but may bring some great results.

Sickle cell anemia is a common inherited disorder that many people suffer from on a daily basis. The best way to get it under control is to diagnose it at an early age. Once it is diagnosed, you can start treatment that will be most beneficial for your individual symptoms.

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