Sickle cell disease or SCD is a hereditary blood disorder that includes several types of blood disorders. The common type of disorder is called as SCA (Sickle-cell anemia). This type of blood disorder affects over 100,000 people in the US. This disease causes irregularity in the hemoglobin created in red blood cells, which contains oxygen-carrying protein. This can further cause a strong sickle-like shape or crescent shape in a few cases. This disease can show the symptoms at an early age that is around 5 to 6 months old.
The SCD causes several health problems, including pain or sickle-cell crisis, stroke, anemia, long-term pain, bacterial infections, etc, and the severity increases when the people get older. The people who suffer from this disease may live between 40 and 60 years only.
Normal red blood cells are flexible and round in shape, which allows them to move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to the entire body. The sickle or crescent-shaped red blood cells can easily break and it leads to anemia. Generally, the normal blood cells live 120 days for normal people, but the sickle-red-blood-cells live only for 10 to 20 days in people suffering from sickle-cell anemia. The blood cells that are damaged cluster together and the clumps stick to the blood vessel walls and this block the blood flow. Because of this blockage may cause severe pain and it can be an emergency and should be taken care immediately.
This severe pain can cause undeviating harm to the brain, lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, and bones, and it is also called severe sickle cell crisis. The individual may not know exactly what the reason for the acute pain is, and the SCD affected people also suffer from infection and thirst that generally activates the acute pain.
African-Americans and Africans are the most affected individuals with Sickle cell disease. But, it is also found in other cultural and tribal groups, including Central and South American people, the Mediterranean individuals, the Caribbean, and the Indian natives.
What Causes Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle cell disease a hereditary disease and it is caused by a heritable abnormality in the DNA for hemoglobin that produces the sickle hemoglobin. If the blood cells that contain protein that carries oxygen get damaged, then they become cluster by sticking to each other, which also damages the red blood cell shape and it gets a new sickle-like shape which blocks the blood flow. The sickle-red-blood cells cause the SCD symptoms.
SCD is not contagious, but it is inherited. Newborn babies born with the sickle-cell disease actually inherit 2-sickle hemoglobin DNA, one from the mother and one from the father. Every year, around 2,000 newborn babies are born with the sickle-cell disease in the US. The individual is inherited with only one sickle hemoglobin gene suffers from sickle-cell trait (SCT), and they do not suffer from painful sickle or anemia crises.
The SCT affected individuals may also suffer from certain severe health conditions, including UTI (urinary tract infections), and blood in the urine. Around 2 million American citizens are suffering from SCT.