Sickle cell anemia

Description of Sickle cell anemia

Definition
 
Sickle cell anemia is a disease in which your body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. The cells are shaped like a crescent or sickle. They don't last as long as normal, round red blood cells. This leads to anemia. The sickle cells also get stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause pain and organ damage.
 
Causes and Risk Factors
 
A genetic problem causes sickle cell anemia. People with the disease are born with two sickle cell genes, one from each parent. If you only have one sickle cell gene, it's called sickle cell trait.
 
Signs and Symptoms
 
The most common symptoms are:
1. Pain
2. Problems from anemia such as feeling tired or weak
3. Shortness of breath
4. Dizziness
5. Headaches
6. Coldness in the hands and feet
 
Investigations
 
A blood test can show if you have the trait or anemia. Most states test newborn babies as part of their newborn screening programs.
 
Treatment
 
Sickle cell anemia has no widely available cure. Treatments can help relieve symptoms and lessen complications. Recent research is exploring treatment option such as:
1. Blood and marrow stem cell transplants
2. Gene therapy
3. New medicines
 
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Content Details
Last updated on:
01 Nov 2021 | 04:56 PM (IST)
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