Sickle Cell Anemia Essay

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Paul Henderson Biology 202 Austen Barnett 18 October 2011 Sickle Cell Anemia Sickle cell anemia is a disease that affects the body’s red blood cells. Sickle Cell Anemia has many symptoms. These symptoms include anemia, (lack of oxygen supply in blood) which makes the affected individual feel weak, cold, dizzy and irritable, it also gives the skin a paler color and may even make the skin appear as a yellowish color. The disease causes many respiratory problems as well, because of poor blood flow in the lungs. Pain is a very common symptom of sickle cell anemia; this pain can be acute or chronic, while acute pain (lasting hours or a few weeks at most) is most common, chronic pain can last multiple weeks or even months. This pain can be mild to severe, which some patients can find unbearable. Sickle Cell Anemia can inhibit gallstones as well, causing more pain. Children with the disease have slowed growth and puberty, which leads to most affected individuals to being smaller than normal as adults. More serious symptoms include stroke, organ failure and blindness. (NHLBI) Around 70,000 to 100,000 Americans suffer from these symptoms that are brought on by sickle cell anemia. The vast majority of these people are African-Americans with another small percentage being mostly of Hispanic ancestry. About one in five hundred African Americans are affected by the disease, while 1 in 36,000 Hispanics are affected. Also about one in twelve African Americans are carriers for the gene. (NHLBI) People with Sickle Cell Anemia have if from birth, while some don’t show any signs of the disease until four months of age. Sickle Cell Anemia is a major hereditary disorder in which a person’s body makes crescent or “sickle” shaped red blood cells. These sickle cells have this shape due to their abnormal hemoglobin (the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen) structures.

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