Sickle Cell Anemia
In order for sickle cell anemia to occur, a sickle cell gene must be inherited from both the mother and the father, so that the child has two sickle cell genes. The sickle cell gene causes the body to make abnormal hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and returns carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. A person with normal red blood cell will have hemoglobin A, however a person with sickle cell disease will have hemoglobin S. Normal red blood cells are usually round and soft and travel easily through small vessels, however sickle cells are abnormally shaped and stiff, thus causing them to have difficulty travelling through small vessels. Sickle cells can clog vessels depriving tissues of oxygen. These cells have a shorter life span than normal red blood cells. Normal red blood cells can live 120 days compared to sickle cells that only last 10 to 20 days, resulting in anemia.
Sickle cell anemia has various symptoms that may vary upon every individual. All the symptoms that a person may experience are basically the direct result of the abnormal shaped blood cells. These cells deprive tissues of oxygen and in time the lack of oxygen to the tissues damages the organs and leads to pain. The intensity and duration of pain will depend on the activity of organs involved. Many organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and so on can be damaged by the lack of oxygen. The most common symptoms an individual can suffer from are fatigue, anemia, pain crises, bacterial infections, episodic pain in chest, abdomen and joints, poor...