Sickle cell anemia is a very common condition that’s found amongst the young and old in Africa.
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia — a condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body.
There’s no cure for most people affected with sickle cell anemia. But treatments can relieve pain and help prevent problems associated with the disease if the signs are noted early enough.
This post aim to expose and enlighten you on the signs that will be help you identify someone affected with sickle cell.
Periodic episodes of pain, called crisis, are the major signs to identify a sickle cell patients . Pain develops when sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood flow through tiny blood vessels to your chest, abdomen and joints. Pain often occur in their bones and joints.
The pain varies in intensity, it can last for a few hours to couple of weeks. Some people have only a few pain episodes. Others have a dozen or more crisis a year. If a crisis is severe enough, they might need to be hospitalized.
Some adolescents and adults with sickle cell anemia also have chronic pain, which can result from bone and joint damage, ulcers and other diseases.
2.Swelling Of Hands And Feet
Sickle cell patients often get swollen feet and hands. This is an obvious sign that will help you easily identify a sickle cell patient. The swelling is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking blood flow to the hands and feet.
Sickle cells can damage an organ that fights infection (spleen), leaving the affected ones more vulnerable to infections. Doctors commonly give infants and children with sickle cell anemia vaccinations and antibiotics to prevent potentially life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia other related infections.
Tiny blood vessels that supply the eyes of a sickle cell patient may become plugged with sickle cells. This can damage the retina — the portion of the eye that processes visual images, leading to vision problems.
5.Delayed/ Slow Growth
Red blood cells provide the body with the oxygen and nutrients one needs for growth. A shortage of healthy red blood cells can slow growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
A sickle patient doesn’t have enough red blood cells to aid their growth, therefore their growth becomes slow.
Sickle cell patients do not have enough red blood cell production in their body system which leads to loss of energy.
Sickle cells break apart easily and die, leaving you without enough red blood cells. Red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before they need to be replaced. But sickle cells usually die in 10 to 20 days, leaving a shortage of red blood cells (anemia).
Without enough red blood cells, the body can’t get the oxygen it needs to feel energized thereby, causing fatigue.
For women, it becomes hard to carry pregnancy or give birth because they don’t have the required energy to go through child birth.