Grant AME Church

September 2014 Health Topics

Genesis 41:5Revised Standard Version (RSV):  And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk.

                                     Source: http://www.sicklecelldisease.org

What is Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)?

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease have red blood cells that contain mostly hemoglobin* S, an abnormal type of hemoglobin. Sometimes these red blood cells become sickle-shaped (crescent shaped) and have difficulty passing through small blood vessels.

Sickle cell conditions are inherited from parents in much the same way as blood type, hair color and texture, eye color and other physical traits. The types of hemoglobin a person makes in the red blood cells depend upon what hemoglobin genes the person inherits from his or her parents. Like most genes, hemoglobin genes are inherited in two sets, one from each parent.

Types of Sickle Cell Disease

There are several types of sickle cell disease. The most common are: Sickle Cell Anemia (SS), Sickle-Hemoglobin C Disease (SC), Sickle Beta-Plus Thalassemia and Sickle Beta-Zero Thalassemia.

What is Sickle Cell Trait (AS)?

Sickle Cell trait (AS) is an inherited condition in which both hemoglobin A and S are produced in the red blood cells, always more A than S. Sickle cell trait is not a type of sickle cell disease. People with sickle cell trait are generally healthy.

How will I know if I have the Trait?

A SIMPLE BLOOD TEST followed by a laboratory technique called Hemoglobin Electrophoresis will determine the type of hemoglobin you have. This technique differentiates between normal hemoglobin (A), Sickle hemoglobin (S), and other different kinds of hemoglobin (such as C, D, E, etc.).

Medical Problems

Sickle cells are destroyed rapidly in the body of people with the disease causing anemia, jaundice and the formation of gallstones.

The sickle cells also block the flow of blood through vessels resulting in lung tissue damage, pain episodes and stroke. It also causes damage to most organs including the spleen, kidneys and liver.

Treatment

Treatment for patients with sickle cell disease starts with early diagnosis, and includes penicillin treatment to prevent disease, vaccination against pneumonia bacteria and folic acid supplementation.

Treatment of sickle cell complications includes antibiotics, pain management, intravenous fluids, blood transfusion and surgery all backed by psychosocial support.

Blood transfusions help sickle cell disease patients by cutting recurrent pain crises, risk of stroke and other complications. It is important to remove excess iron from the body of sickle cell disease people because it can gather in the heart, liver, and other organs and may lead to organ damage. Treatments are available to eliminate iron overload.

Quiz

  1. You can catch Sickle Cell Disease from virus or bacteria? (True/False)
  2. You can test for Sickle Cell with a blood sample? (True? False)
  3. People with the Sickle Cell trait are usually very sick? (True/False)
  4. Sickle Cell disease can cause tissue damage, pain or stroke (True/False)
  5. Treatment of Sickle Cell includes antibiotics, vaccination, blood transfusions or folic acid supplements. (True/False)

 

 

 

Answers

  1. False
  2. True
  3. False
  4. True
  5. True