What is anemia?
Anemia is the most common blood disorder in the world. Millions of people suffer from the disease on a daily basis. It is characterized by an insufficient amount of healthy red blood cells. This will cause a decreased amount of hemoglobin, the iron-rich substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.
What is sickle cell anemia?
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited type of anemia. It is characterized by misshapen red blood cells. The sickle, or crescent, shaped cells deteriorate at a rapid rate. The production of healthy red blood cells cannot keep up with the rapid destruction and therefore, there is not enough healthy cells or hemoglobin. Also, the unique shape makes it difficult for the cells to flow freely through the blood vessels. This can cause a blockage in the cell that contain deteriorating cells. The blood flow will decrease and even less oxygen will be transported throughout the body.
What are sickle cell anemia symptoms?
Fatigue, weakness and decreased energy are all common symptoms of all types of anemia, including sickle cell. Frequent pain episodes may be a symptoms of sickle cell anemia. The pain may be experienced in the abdomen, chest, joints and bones. This is usually caused by the blood vessel blockage. Jaundice is a common symptom of sickle cell anemia. Jaundice is a yellow tint to the skin and eyes that is caused by a malfunctioning liver. The liver is responsible for getting rid of harmful substances in the blood. With the large amount of deteriorating sickle cells, the liver will be working overtime and therefore, jaundice can form. Swollen hands and feet are also very common symptoms of sickle cell anemia.
What are sickle cell anemia treatments?
There is no cure for sickle cell anemia, but there are some treatments that can help reduce the symptoms. Supplementing your oxygen intake can help reduce the symptoms. Using an oxygen mask is the most common way to do this. Antibiotics are also common treatment for sickle cell anemia. Frequent infection is a symptom of sickle cell, so fighting the infection will help keep the body healthy. Pain medication may also be prescribed for sickle cell anemia. This will help with the frequent pain episodes.
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