Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease (or sickle cell anemia, as it’s often called) is a disorder of the blood in which red blood cells are misshapen and can resemble a crescent or a “sickle” shape. This can cause numerous health complications. One must inherit the gene from both parents for it to become active, due to the fact that it is recessive. Patients with sickle cell disease have a mutation in a gene on chromosome 11 that codes for the beta subunit of the hemoglobin protein, causing the hemoglobin to form improperly, resulting in misshapen red blood cells. Sickle cell disease is more prevalent in people whose ancestors resided in tropical or sub-tropical climates, for the reason that having one recessive sickle cell gene causes resistance to malaria, which is a common disease in those areas. Thus, those of African-American or Hispanic descent have a higher likelihood of having the disease. Today, nearly 72,000 Americans have sickle cell disease, with 1-in-2,000 newborns having the disease. Symptoms
The misshapen blood cells that are formed as a result of sickle cell disease can cause multiple problems and patients show many symptoms as a result. The majority of the symptoms are caused by the blockages that can form in the blood vessels of the patients. Due to the irregular shape of the red blood cells, they cannot easily flow through the blood vessels in a linear formation like regular red blood cells, but instead they can clump together and form clots, constricting blood flow and oxygen supply. Symptoms of sickle cell disease include: irregular blood pressure, jaundice skin or eyes, pale skin, bone or joint pain, delayed growth, skin ulcers (common on the legs), anemia, constant headaches, dizziness, fatigue, organ or tissue damage, pulmonary hypertension, shortness of breath, numbness in the extremities, and stroke. Sickle cell disease is known to be extremely painful in many instances due to the damage of the blood vessels and...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document