Introduction – World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is celebrated on June 19 annually to spread awareness about sickle cell disease with risks and challenges associated with people across the world.
Sickle cell anemia – It is a type of anemia in which blood cells change into a crescent moon shape because of an inherited genetic abnormality hereditary from both parents. An individual who is suffered from sickle cell has poor oxygen levels due to the abnormal red blood cells (RBCs) blocking the flow of blood as their sticky and rigid nature.
Sickle cell disease is one of the genetic diseases and is the most common red blood cell disorder with over a million affected across the world. This type of blood disorder affects the molecule in blood cells in which hemoglobin and red-blood corpuscles become sickle-shaped. These sickle-shaped cells have eagerly damaged the flow of the blood in the body which decreases the quality of blood.
Symptoms – Generally, the symptoms of sickle cell anemia appear at a young age and depend upon the types and severity of this disease. There are some common symptoms of sickle cell anemia are given below –
- Swelling and pain in feet and hands
- Frequent infections
- Kidney problems
- Problem in breathing
- Excessive fatigue
- Chest pain
- Urinary tract infections
- Pain in the back, arms, or legs
During the screening process of a new-born baby sickle cell disease may be detected. If any parent is suffering from sickle cell disease, then it may be diagnosed in a baby during pregnancy.
Types of sickle cell anemia – There are several types of sickle cell anemia are discussed below –
- Hemoglobin SS disease – It is one of the most common and most severe types of sickle cell disease and occurs when you inherit copies of the hemoglobin S gene from both parents.
- Hemoglobin SC disease – It is also one of the second most common types of sickle cell disease that occurs when you inherit the Hb C gene from one parent and the Hb S from other and is less severe than SS.
- Hemoglobin SB + (beta) thalassemia – This type of sickle cell disease affects beta-globin gene production. In this type of sickle cell disease, the size of the red blood cell is decreased due to less beta protein being made. It is not severe.
- Hemoglobin SB 0 (Beta–zero) thalassemia – It is the fourth type of sickle cell disease that includes the beta-globin gene and has the similar symptoms as compared with Hb SS anemia. Sometimes the symptoms of this type of sickle cell disease are more severe and are linked with a poorer prognosis.
- Sickle cell trait – In this type of sickle cell disease, people only receive a mutated gene (hemoglobin S) from one parent is called a sickle cell trait with no or reduced symptoms.
Treatment – The treatment of sickle cell disease is either stem cell or bone marrow transplant that includes replacing bone marrow and is affected by sickle cell anemia with healthy bone marrow from a donor. The treatment of sickle cell disease is also done via blood transfusions and intravenous fluids to rejuvenate the red blood cells.