Sickle cell disorder (SCD) affects millions around the world. “World Sickle Cell Day”, raises awareness of sickle cell disease and its treatment methods to help those living with sickle cell achieve their full potential.
?SCD is an inherited genetic abnormality of hemoglobin. Sickle cell disorder causes normally flexible, round, and easily moving blood cells to become rigid, sticky, and sickle shaped. This causes slowing of the blood flow and thus oxygen reaching to various parts of the body is diminished. This can cause episodes of pain which are generally referred to as a crisis. Risk of complications such as stroke, acute chest syndrome, blindness, and bone damage increases. With time SCD patients may experience damage to organs such as the liver, kidney, lungs, heart and spleen eventually leading to death. SCD children between the ages of 2 and 16 are at increased risk for stroke.
SCD is mainly handled by preventing and treating complications. Bone marrow transplant is the only possible cure for the disorder but it requires a suitable donor. Drug, Hydroxyurea, can significantly reduce the number of painful crises. Sickle cell trait is inherited when only one of the parents has passed on the sickle gene, and will never develop into SCD. People with Sickle cell trait do not have symptoms, but certain factors have to be considered if they are planning to have children. Pre-marital screening can reduce transmission of sickle cell disease to future generations.
SCD is a lifelong illness and can be extreme emotional, physical, and financial burden on the patients and their families. Try and make a positive difference to people affected by sickle cell. Participate in fundraise, donate, events, volunteer or just raise awareness.
Every bit of help from you will make a difference.