Sickle Cell

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Sickle cell disease is present usually in those of African or Mediterranean descent (Saladin 2007). About 1.3% of African Americans have sickle cell (Saladin, 2007). Sickle cell was originated in Africa where malaria was killing a vast number of people (Saladin, 2007). The sickle cell hemoglobin is not able to be digested by the parasites that cause malaria, making those with sickle cell resistant to malaria (Saladin, 2007). This paper will discuss a normal erythrocyte compared to an erythrocyte affected with sickle cell. It will also talk about how to diagnose sickle cell disease.

Erythrocytes are the most common element of blood, and they are formed in red bone marrow (Saladin 2007). Erythrocyte production is called erythropoiesis, and a typical cell lives for an average of 120 days (Saladin, 2007). Erythrocytes, better known as red blood cells, have two very important basic functions: to pick up oxygen from lungs and deliver to body, and to get carbon dioxide from the body and bring it to the lungs (Saladin, 2007). Red blood cells are circular with a sunken center (Saladin 2007). They are about 7.5 micrometers in diameter, and 2 micrometers at the rim (Saladin, 2007). Red blood cells differ from most cells in that they lose almost all organelles during development, including a nucleus and mitochondria (Saladin, 2007). Without mitochondria, red blood cells depend on anaerobic fermentation to produce energy (Saladin, 2007). Without a nucleus and DNA, red blood cells are also unable to perform protein synthesis and mitosis (Saladin, 2007). Glycoproteins and glycolipids are located on the plasma membrane of a mature red blood cell to establish the blood type of a person (Saladin, 2007). RBC’s get their sturdiness and flexibility from two cytoskeletal proteins located on the inner surface of the cell (Saladin, 2007). The red blood cells need these traits to pass through small blood capillaries and sinusoids, many of which are thinner than RBCs,...
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