What is Sickle Cell Anemia?
What is Sickle Cell Anemia?
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder that affects the red blood cells in our blood. It is caused by a change in the hemoglobin gene, which is responsible for making hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, carries oxygen throughout the body.
What are the Symptoms? And Who does it Affect?When someone has sickle cell anemia, the hemoglobin molecules are shaped like a sickle or crescent moon. These abnormal hemoglobin molecules can clump together and block blood vessels. This blockage can lead to pain, organ damage, and other health problems.
Sickle cell anemia is found to be more common in people of African descent. About 1 in 13 African Americans is born with the sickle cell trait, which means they have one copy of the sickle cell gene. About 1 in 400 African Americans is born with sickle cell anemia, which means they have two copies of the sickle cell gene. One copy gives you the trait, and two copies give you the disease.
Is There A Cure For Sickle Cell Anemia?Unfortunately, there currently is no widely available cure for sickle cell anemia, however, there are new therapies being developed that may provide a cure very soon. Currently, there are ways to prevent complications. One way is to avoid things that can trigger sickle cell crises, such as dehydration, infection, and extreme temperatures. Another way is to take medications to manage pain and prevent complications.
How To Prevent And Raise Awareness Of Sickle Cell Anemia?There are also ways to prevent sickle cell anemia from being passed on to future generations. Genetic testing can be done to see if someone is a carrier of the sickle cell gene. If both parents are carriers, they can undergo genetic counseling to discuss their options for preventing their child from having sickle cell anemia.
Here are some of the ways to prevent sickle cell anemia:● Through genetic testing: A genetic test can be done to see if someone is a carrier of the sickle cell gene. If both parents are carriers, they can undergo genetic counseling to discuss their options for preventing their child from having sickle cell anemia.
● In vitro fertilization (IVF): IVF, a procedure in which eggs are fertilized in a laboratory. This allows doctors to select embryos that do not have the sickle cell gene.
● Sickle cell trait screening: Sickle cell trait screening is recommended for all newborns in the United States. This screening can help identify babies who are carriers of the sickle cell gene.
● Education: Raising awareness about sickle cell anemia and its prevention is important to prevent the spread of the disease.
● Multivitamins: Studies indicate supplementing with a daily multivitamin like GNetX Sequence Multivitamins or in combination with antioxidants can reduce the percentage of irreversibly 'sickled' cells.