Sickle Cell Anemia – Symptoms, Causes, Tests, Treatment, Prevention

Sickle cell anemia is a disorder in human blood in which human body starts producing red blood cells in sickle or crescent form. Sickle cell contains hemoglobin S that leads to the production of red blood cells in crescent or sickle shape.  Sickle cell does not lasts more than 10 to 20 days and bone marrow is unable to develop red blood cells so fast that it can replace the dying red blood cells which leads to the deficiency of red blood cells thus causing Sickle cell anemia.

Symptoms and causes of Sickle cell anemia

Sickle cell anemia is mainly caused sue to lifelong diseases or is genetically inherited from the parents. The symptoms of Sickle cell anemia do not come before age 4 months. The patients suffering from Sickle cell anemia have painful sessions which are also known as crisis. These crises can range from hours to days and affects the chest, long bones and back bone. There were cases in medical history in which these painful sessions last for years. The common symptoms of Sickle cell anemia are bone pain, fever, fatigue, paleness, increased heart rate, ulcers forming in lower legs, jaundice, breathlessness, abdominal pain, growth delay and puberty, excessive thirst, frequent urination, strokes, blindness or poor vision, prolonged and painful erection.

Tests

There are several types of tests which are used by doctors in order to diagnose and monitors Sickle cell anemia patient. Some of these tests are Sickle cell test, complete blood count, hemoglobin electrophoresis, urinary casts, blood oxygen, MRI or CT scan, bilirubin, peripheral smear and many more.

Treatment

The ultimate goal of treatment is to control and manage symptoms and to limit the number of pain sessions.  It is need to be understood that a patient suffering from Sickle cell anemia have to go through ongoing treatment even when the patient is not having painful sessions.  It is recommended to the patient that he or she should take folic acid supplements as it is required to make red blood cells.  The treatment of Sickle cell anemia includes intake of lots of fluids, blood transfusions, hydrea a medicine which helps in reducing the painful sessions, chest pains and breathlessness. Patient who are suffering from severe Sickle cell anemia are treated with surgery for eye problems and painful errections, kidney transplant for kidney related diseases. There are lots of treatments like stem cell transplant and bone marrow transplant which promise cure of Sickle cell anemia however it depends upon the availability of donors.

Prevention

Sickle cell anemia can only occur in a child whose parents carry sickle cell trait thus parents having sickle cell trait to go for genetic counseling.  A person who is diagnosed with Sickle cell anemia can prevent its red blood cells from forming sickle shape by taking enough fluids, oxygen and quick treatment of infections.  In order to avoid painful sessions the patient suffering from Sickle cell anemia should avoid smoking, non pressurized flights, avoid too much sun exposure and other events that reduces oxygen level.