Untreated Sickle Cell Disease And Life Expectancy

Untreated Sickle Cell Disease And Life Expectancy

Sickle cell disease is an inherited red blood cell disorder. When the red blood cells are healthy, they are round in shape and they are able to move around in narrow blood vessels to supply oxygen to all parts of the body.

In sickle cell disease, the red blood cells are hard and sticky and look like a C shaped sickle. For sickle cells, their life is very short about 16 days when the normal red blood cells last 120 days.

The body is unable to produce new red blood cells at the rate they die and hence, there is constant shortage of red blood cells. The sickle cells due to their shape and stickiness are unable to travel through narrow blood vessels and oxygen supply does not reach many tissues and organs. This can cause damage to organs.

This is a genetic condition inherited. This can be diagnosed with simple blood test. People with sickle cell disease display symptoms during childhood within a few months after birth. Some of the symptoms are as given below.

  • Hand-foot syndrome. This causes swelling of hand and feet.
  • Pain episode
  • Anemia
  • Infection
  • Acute chest syndrome
  • Vision loss
  • Leg ulcers
  • Stroke
         The only known cure for this disease is bone marrow transplant. For the transplant to be successful, the bone marrow of the donor and the recipient has to match. If left untreated, it can lead to several complications and organ failures. Decreased immune reactions and stroke can result if proper treatment to relieve the symptoms is not taken. Life expectancy is shortened and average life expectancy of 42 years for males and 48 years for female is observed.

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Untreated Sickle Cell Disease And Life Expectancy