Sickle cell disease is referred to the formation of sickle shaped red blood cells in the body which causes anemia that is lack of RBC in the body because the sickle cells have a relatively very small lifespan of about 15 days while that of RBC is 100 days and bone marrow can’t produce RBC so rapidly to compensate for the loss. The lack of oxygen carrying cells in the body may cause various sickle cell disease symptoms.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited form of anemia. The disease is caused due to mutation in the gene which control the hemoglobin. The abnormal hemoglobin causes the round shaped, flexible RBC to become sickle shaped, sticky and rigid. Due to which it may cause blockage in the narrow blood vessels as a result the normal blood flow may slow down. The risk of a child having sickle cell disease is maximum if both the parents have sickle cell disease. If one of them is having the disease then the child may not show severe symptoms even if he is having sickle cells. Major sickle cell disease symptoms are
Sickle Cell Disease Symptoms
Since sickle cells die much faster then normal RBC there is a severe shortage of oxygen carrying cells in the body. Due to this the oxygen requirement of different parts of the body to perform necessary tasks is not met. Due to this you may feel tired and exhausted.
Red blood cells play a important role in proper growth by providing ample oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body. Due to shortage of RBC the child may not grow timely. This may cause delayed puberty in teenagers.
Person may suffer from vision defects because the sickle cells may block the narrow blood vessels present in the retina. This symptom may not affect every person suffering from sickle cell disease.
Shortness Of Breath
It is a common symptom of anemia. Shortness of breath is caused as a result of damage and blockage of the blood vessels of lungs. Due to this you can also suffer from severe pain in the chest.
Sickle cells blocks the blood vessel as they are very sticky and form clogs due to which the supply of blood may get affected in important parts of the body like joints, chest and abdomen which in turn causes pain. Intensity of pain varies with the extent of blockage of the blood vessels.
Anemia may damage the infection fighting organ of the body,spleen. Due to this you can get easily infected. In fact major cause of deaths in children suffering from sickle cell disease is severe infections in the bloodstream.
Hand Foot Syndrome
Sickle cells may cause blockage in the narrow blood vessels present in the hands and legs. Due to which both hand and foot may swell up and can even cause pain and coldness. The syndrome is generally found in kids below 5 years.
Sickle cell disease can be diagnosed by blood test to check for the presence abnormal hemoglobin and sickle cells. A person may have to suffer from sickle cell disease symptoms throughout his life. The only complete treatment of the disease is bone marrow transplantation but a donor is very difficult to find. Blood transfusion is helpful to maintain RBC level in the blood. Doctors generally focus on curbing the sickle cell disease symptoms by prescribing pain relievers and antibiotics to reduce the chances of infections.