Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle Cell Anemia occurs in about 1 out of 500 African American births, and 1 out of 36,000 Hispanic births. It is a lifelong disease, and sometime can be deadly. According to Dr. Whittaker, in our region there are abnormally higher cases of Sickle Cell Anemia, so I found it important to learn more about the disease, what cause it, what are the symptoms as well as the options of treatments for this disease.
According to www.invista.com, it is believed that sickle cell disease occurs more often in people from parts of the world where “malaria” is or was common. Also the coincident of people who carry the sickle cell trait are less likely to catch malaria make a lot of us wonder of these two diseases are associated. “In the 1940s, E.A.Beet, a British medical officer stationed in Northern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), observed that blood from malaria patients who had sickle cell trait had fewer malarial parasites than blood from patients without the trait.” ( innvista) There are researchers have came up with several links between the two diseases. “Malaria” is caused by a type of parasite that completes its life cycle in human’s red blood cell. This parasite enters the bloodstream with the aid of a female (Anopheles) mosquito. With individual who has Sickle Cell Anemia, the red blood cell break down when infected with this parasite disallow the development of the “malaria” parasite. There are others explanation such as: Hb S in Sickle Cell individual leads to the polymerization of hemoglobin and this prevent the parasite from ingest the hemoglobin which it needs for its life cycle, therefore the parasite get destroyed. Also the parasites of “Malaria” need oxygen for their development however a patient with Sickle Cell Anemia can’t provide them just that, therefore they cannot continue their life cycle. There are still questions regarding the relationship between Sickle Cell Anemia and “malaria”, but the explanations offered are quite interested.
Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherit disease. An individual who has two copies of the trait will inherit Sickle Cell Anemia from the parents. Those people who only have one copy of this trait will become a carrier for Sickle Cell Anemia, and if their husband or wife also a carrier, the disease will keep passing on. “In Sickle Cell Anemia, the havoc caused by the abnormal hemoglobin s (HbS), results from a change in just one of the 146 amino acids in a beta chain of the globin molecule”( Marieb 642). It is amazing how one tiny change in our body can has such dramatic effect, but on the other hand they all possible; human’s body is extremely complex.The disease has to do with the protein hemoglobin found in human red blood cell. A normal person’s red blood cell has a round, doughnut shape without the whole in the middle; however a sickled red blood cell will take on a crested moon shape, and these sickled cells are fragile and prone to rupture. The normal life span of a healthy red blood cell is about 120 days before spleen takes out the bad ones and the bone marrow replace them. The sickle cells will go bad in only about 10 to 20 days. Imagine the spleen has to work extra hard to get rid of these bad blood cells, and with patients of sickle cell anemia about all of their hemoglobins are bad, therefore spleen has to take out all of them; that’s why these patients have to get their blood transfuse regularly. These sickled cells after got produced by red bone marrow can go back and forth between being normally shaped and sickle shaped until they eventually become sickle shaped permanently. And Instead of moving through the bloodstream easily like normal red blood cells, these sickle cells are very sticky and so they can clog blood vessels. “These events interfere with oxygen delivery, leaving the victims gasping for air and extreme pain. Bone and chest pain are particularly severe, and infection and stroke are common sequels.” ( Marieb 642). Sickle cell anemia...
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