Sickle Cell Anemia
Normal Circulatory system
In a normal circulatory system blood flows easily through the veins and arteries. Oxygen is delivered throughout the body to all the vital organs.
Sickle Cell Disease
An anemia is a condition where there are less red blood cells than normal. Sickle cell anemia is a disorder where the body creates sickle or crescent shaped red blood cells. In a normal blood cell they look like donuts with a hole in the middle. This shape helps them move through blood vessels easily. The shape of these cells causes blockages inside a blood vessel. This can cause many problems for the vital organs because the supply of oxygen gets cut off. A normal blood cell lives up to 120 days in the blood. A sickle cell only lives 10-20 days and doesn't give the body enough time to create new cells to replace the dead ones.
Sickle cell anemia has no commonly available cure but there are a lot of treatments that can help to improve the anemia for adults and children. Over the past 100 years, doctors have learned a great deal about sickle cell anemia. They know its causes, how it affects the body, and how to treat many of its complications.
Sickle cell anemia varies from person to person. Some people who have the disease have chronic pain or fatigue
(tiredness). However, with proper care and treatment, many people who have the disease can have improved quality of life and reasonable health much of the time.
Because of improved treatments and care, people who have sickle cell anemia are now living into their forties or fifties, or longer.
Symptoms or tests to identify the disease Symptoms and Signs
Shortness of breath
Coldness in hands and feet
Paleness in the skin
Jaundice ( a yellowish color on the skin. Often newborn babies have this.)
Swelling and inflammation of the hands and/or feet