Sickle Cell Anemia in Africa Population

Anemia is a common disease in many parts of the world. For a common man, it is mainly characterized by a deficiency of iron in the body. But medically, it is the deficiency of iron-carrying protein – hemoglobin which is responsible for transportation of oxygen and nutrients in the body. All this takes place in the RED BLOOD CELLS or RBCs.

Sickle Cell Anaemia-A Genetic disorder:

Sickle Cell Anaemia is different. It is a genetic disorder which results in RBCs to become misshapen and break down. Because of which the transportation of oxygen and nutrients is hampered. And patient suffers from the symptoms of anemia such as weakness, pallor, pain in joints etc.

Sickle cell anemia can make life more difficult, particularly for a child, who will need to deal with delayed sexual maturity and stunted growth. The patient will need to avoid things that can cause a crisis, such as certain medication that restricts blood vessels, high altitudes, and strenuous exercise.

About 80% of sickle cell disease cases are believed to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sickle cell is found more frequently in persons of Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean and African heritage because those geographic regions are most prone to malaria. The gene variant for sickle cell disease is related to malaria, not skin color. In the African population, the presence of sickle cell gene is an example of natural selection. Those people are specifically prone to a malarial parasite which feeds upon the normal spherical RBC. But in people with sickle cell anemia, the sickle-shaped RBC is not the best host for the parasite. The sickle cell and the parasite are filtered out by the spleen and destroyed, lessening the impact of the parasitic infection. Therefore, people with sickle cell trait never have a high infection load that results in malaria. Thus, they are comparatively immune to malaria which is one of the biggest killers in many African countries.

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