The Discussion on Sickle Cell Disease

Topics: Hemoglobin, Red blood cell, Sickle-cell disease Pages: 4 (1430 words) Published: February 15, 2010
Sickle Cell Disease is an illness that affects people all across the globe. This paper will give a description of the sickness through the discussion of the causes, symptoms, and possible cures. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a "group of inherited red blood cell disorders."(1) These disorders can have various afflictions, such as pain, damage and a low blood count--Sickle Cell Anemia. The overall incidence of SCD is eight out of 100,000 people. However, it is much more widespread in some people. "One out of 600 African Americans and one out of 1,000 to 1, 400 Hispanic Americans" are affected. (2). However, there are other populations who are especially affected, as well. These include, but are not limited to "Arabs, Greeks, Italians, and people from India."(1) As it is plain to see, the disease can affect many different types of people.

Now that we know whom this illness should concern, we must discuss what exactly the disease is. "The genetic defect that causes sickle cell anemia affects hemoglobin." (3). Hemoglobin is a constituent of red blood cells. Its job is to take oxygen to all the cells and tissues in the body. "Red blood cells that contain normal hemoglobin are soft and round. Their soft texture enables them to squeeze through the body's small blood vessels."(3) People with SCD, however, have a type of irregular hemoglobin. "A genetic error makes the hemoglobin molecules stick together in a long, rigid rods after they release oxygen. These rods cause the red blood cells to become hard and sickle-shaped, unable to squeeze through tiny blood vessels. The misshapen cells can get stuck in the small blood vessels, causing a blockage that deprives the body's cells and tissues of blood and oxygen."(3) Thus, the this is where the name of the disease comes from. It also describes the physical process of what happens when you have SCD.

In order to get Sickle Cell Anemia, you must have the Sickle Cell Trait. This is defined as "A person who carries one...
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