Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorder. Red blood cells when they are healthy are round and they easily move through blood vessels and carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
In the case of sickle cell disease, the red blood cells become hard and sticky, and take the shape of a C type sickle. They have difficulty in traveling through narrow blood vessels and get stuck block the blood vessels. This affects the blood supply to that part of the body and certain tissues and organs that don’t receive their normal requirement of oxygen can get damaged.
Sickle cell disease is inherited from the parents the same way as some of the physical traits. The type of hemoglobin a person makes in the blood depends on what hemoglobin genes are inherited from the parents. Sickle cell anemia is caused by a recessive allele. A person has to receive sickle cell anemia gene, one each from both the parents to inherit this disorder. If he receives sickle cell anemia gene from one parent and normal gene from another parent, then he does not inherit the disease but he has the sickle cell trait which he can pass it on to his next generation.
The following symptoms are observed in patients having sickle cell anemia.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Fast heart rate
- Breathing difficulty
- Pale skin color
- Slow growth
- Delayed puberty
Other symptoms are as follows
- Hand foot syndrome -- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Pain crisis -- The pain can be mild or sever
- Infection -- They are at risk to get infected
- Acute chest syndrome -- Chest pain, coughing, breathing difficulty
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