Sickle-Cell Anemia

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Sickle-Cell Anemia is an inherited, chronic blood disease in which the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells. When the blood cells become crescent/sickle shaped, they are unable to deliver adequate amounts of oxygen to other cells. Also, these unusual “sickle” cells block blood pathways to the limbs and organs, limiting the amount of blood flowing throughout the body. It causes pain, organ damage, and anemia (low blood count). Unfortunately, however, when sufferers are born with this disease, they live life knowing it is incurable. In Sickle-Cell Anemia, the 11th chromosome is affected, and thus, causes the disorder. In addition, this disease is autosomal, and not sex-linked. It is also codominant, which means neither allele dominates. Symptoms of Sickle-Cell Anemia include Hand-Foot syndrome, fatigue, breathlessness, rapid heart rate, delayed growth and puberty, susceptibility to infections, ulcers on the lower legs, jaundice, attacks of abdominal pain, weakness, joint pain, fever, vomiting, bloody urination, excessive thirst, chest pain, and decreased fertility. However, symptoms may not appear until four months after birth. Luckily, there are treatments that can delay Sickle-Cell Anemia longer. One of these treatments is called Hydroxyurea. Hydroxurea is actually a drug that decreases the number of nucleotides inside cells, which reduces the concentration of defective hemoglobin (sickle-cells). Another treatment for this disease is called Sulphasalazine. This is also a drug, and it works by reducing the number of "sticky" molecules on red blood cells in Sickle-Cell Anemia. Furthermore, Poloxamer 108 is yet another drug that shortens the length of painful episodes in Sickle-Cell Anemia. It works by improving blood flow in the blood vessels, surrounding the painful area. Although these drugs work to “cover up” the disease, and delay its spread, there still isn’t enough research to create a cure for Sickle-Cell Anemia. In order to find out if a person...
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