Senior Consultant General Physician
Published on: 14/06/2022
Did you know?
Around 3,00,000 babies are born each year with severe haemoglobin disorders!
Hemoglobin disorders affect the normal function of haemoglobin in red blood cells. These are hereditary diseases that cause the size and shape of red blood cells to change, reducing the blood's oxygen-carrying ability. The most common haemoglobin disorders is the sickle cell anaemia.
A day of community action- It’s World Sickle Cell Day!
This year on World Sickle Cell Day-2022, the theme for the event is "Shine the Light on Sickle Cell", with the goal to increase public knowledge and an understanding of sickle cell disease.
Let's raise awareness and reduce the stigma experienced by families with sickle cell disease! Most people are unaware that they have sickle cell trait since the symptoms are usually overlooked. That is why it is critical to get tested.
The concern now is: Can sickle cell be reversed?
Currently, there is no cure for sickle cell disease. Some children with the disease have been successfully treated with few procedures. This approach, though, is not done very often because of the significant risks involved. Let’s know in detail about the disease.
What is Sickle Cell Anemia?
Sickle cell anaemia is a group of genetic illnesses that are also known as sickle cell disease. This has an impact on the structure of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body.
Red blood cells, which are usually round and flexible, can freely pass through blood vessels. In sickle cell anaemia, certain red blood cells become sickles or crescent moons and get stiff and sticky, which can slow or block blood flow. Most people with sickle cell anaemia have no cure. Treatments can alleviate pain and help prevent disease complications.
Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia
Here are some symptoms of sickle cell anemia include:
- Fatigue and shortness of breath
- Slowed growth and delayed puberty in children
- Frequent infections
- Eye problems, including blindness
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and whites of eyes)
- Pale skin and fingernails
Diagnosing Sickle Cell Anemia
Doctors diagnose sickle cell anemia by using a blood test called hemoglobin electrophoresis. A blood test can detect the type of haemoglobin that causes sickle cell anaemia. After that, the sample is sent to a laboratory to be checked for sickle cell haemoglobin.
The physician will also enquire about a history of painful crises, chest pain neurological problems and infection history. He or she may then do a physical examination, focusing on the heart, lungs, joints, eyes, and neurological system.
Treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia
The aim of sickle cell anaemia treatment is to avoid pain episodes, reduce symptoms, and prevent complications. Treatment options include medication and surgical procedures:
- Hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea, Siklos)
- L-glutamine oral powder (Endari)
- Crizanlizumab (Adakveo)
- Voxelotor (Oxbryta)
- Pain-relieving medications
Surgical and other procedures
- Blood transfusions: These procedures are used to treat and prevent problems such as stroke in people with sickle cell disease.
A red blood cell transfusion involves collecting red blood cells from a supply of donated blood and administering them with sickle cell anaemia through a vein. This increases the quantity of normal red blood cells, which helps in the reduction of symptoms and consequences.
- Stem cell transplant: This procedure, commonly known as a bone marrow transplant, replaces sickle cell anemia-affected bone marrow with healthy bone marrow from a donor. In most cases, a matched donor, such as a sibling who does not have sickle cell anaemia, is used in the surgery.
Because of the risks of a bone marrow transplant, including mortality, it is only recommended for those who have severe sickle cell anaemia symptoms and issues. A stem cell transplant is the only known cure for sickle cell anaemia.
People with sickle cell disease must have regular doctor visits and receive comprehensive care. When a person with sickle cell disease gets a fever (or any other indicators of infection), breathing issues, intense pain in any part of the body, or neurological symptoms, call the doctor right away.
Don't avoid the Sickle Cell Disease symptoms.
Get your check-up done today from our expert!