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…show more content…
Newborns that are found to have the disease through are given antibiotics as infants to ward off infections. Pain is treated by simple painkillers, from over the counter for mild cases of pain, to stronger clinical pain medicine for severe cases. Blood transfusions are also given to treat anemia and to reduce the rick of severe complications like stroke. Oxygen therapy is also offered to help with anemia. There is also a drug called hydroxyurea. This is used in severe cases and what it does is make fetal hemoglobin, which is the type of hemoglobin newborn babies have in their blood stream. This fetal hemoglobin cuts down on red blood cells from forming a crescent shape, therefore leading to less blood blockages, and longer cell life. Another treatment is a bone marrow transplant. In this procedure bone marrow is transplanted from a healthy donor to the affected individual. The affected individual’s “new” bone marrow produces healthy red blood cells and relieves them of the symptoms of sickle cell anemia. The transplant has to come from a healthy close relative with matching blood types though, which makes it hard to find a donor. This procedure is highly dangerous, has many complications and could lead to fatality. Because of these downside bone marrow transplant is very rarely used and only used in very severe cases of the

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