Sickle Cell Anemia

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Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disease. The word anemia is defined as meaning that the blood does not have the required number of red blood cells. These cells take on a crescent shape, which is where the disease takes its name from the abnormal sickle shapes of the cells. It is commonly found in people from Africa, the Mediterranean region, southern India and the Middle East. “This disease of the blood was first discovered in 1910 in a black college student from the West Indies. Later research showed that a child of parents with sickle cell anemia would have these cells in their blood, even though the parents were quite healthy. This led to the discovery that this condition is inherited and that the parents carried the recessive gene that caused it to occur in the children.”(Dr. Panadula Siirribaddana) About 8% of African Americans have sickle cell trait; that is, they are heterozygotes, usually symptomless carriers who have inherited a normal hemoglobin gene from one parent and hemoglobin-S from the other. There are also intermediate forms of the disease that result when a gene for hemoglobin-S is inherited from one parent and a gene for any of several other abnormal kinds of hemoglobin is inherited from the other. Genetic screening is recommended for prospective parents at risk of passing on the disease. If both parents are carriers (i.e., have sickle cell trait), then each child has a one in four chance of having sickle cell disease. There are three common types of sickle cell disease in the United States. These include Hemoglobin SS (or sickle cell anemia), Hemoglobin SC, and Hemoglobin sickle beta-thalassemia. Each of these types of sickle cell disease can cause pain episodes and complications, but some are more common than others. Pain episodes are the most common...
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