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What is sickle cell anemia? How is it treated?

Sickle cell anemia treatment is required in such patients who experience from the severe form of this condition. In normal condition hemoglobin present in our blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and further distribution of it in the whole body. However, in sickle cell anemia, the hemoglobin is defectively obtaining an s-shaped and lacking oxygen carrying capacity. Which creates a situation of deoxygenation in the body and might lead to severe or fatal conditions.


How can Sickle Cell Anemia be diagnosed?

A blood test can easily help in the diagnosis of sickle cell anemia. A screening for hemoglobin S is done of the collected blood sample. If the test comes out to be negative then there is no sickle cell gene present and if it is positive then the gene is present. Further additional tests for evaluation of the severity of the condition is done like to check for a low blood cell count or anemic condition etc. These tests help in preparing and preventing complications which can later turn out to be fatal. A proper diagnosis at the early stages can only help in getting the best sickle cell anemia treatment.

Sickle cell genes can also be tested during pregnancy by sampling amniotic fluid. Further, a genetic counselor can also be recommended to understand the better chances and risks for your baby.


Is there any treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia treatment has options like blood transfusions which can increase red blood cell count for time being to relieve anemia symptoms. But transfusion causes iron overload and build high risks of stroke as well.

A bone marrow transplant is another effective sickle cell anemia treatment option which is readily used these days. It involves the replacement of defective or damaged bone marrow with the new healthy bone marrow obtained from the patient or a donor. A completely matching donor is hard to find but if found can make things easier and reduces complication chances as well for the patient. The complications are less in people of 16 years of age and younger after that serious risks like death is involved in most of the cases.

Sickle cell anemia treatment is very important since it helps to prevent any crisis and complications. Especially babies with 2 years of age and younger must be taken to the doctor frequently for a routine checkup during sickle cell anemia treatment, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sickle cell anemia treatment options include medications to reduce pain, and blood transfusions, and mainly a bone marrow transplant to prevent further complications.  


Some of the medications which are used in sickle cell anemia treatment include:

•   Pain-Relievers: These prescribed medications helps in relieving pain during sickle cell crisis. Your doctor can suggest a medicine suitable as per your level of pain.

•   Antibiotics: Children of 2 months of age are put on antibiotics like penicillin until they reach 5 years of age. This helps during sickle cell anemia treatment to prevent life-threatening infections like pneumonia for a sickle cell patient.

•   Hydroxyurea: This medicine if taken daily reduces the chances of crisis as well as blood transfusions and frequent hospitalizations. It triggers the production of fetal hemoglobin which is found in newborns and prevents sickle cell formation.


Related FAQs:

1) Q: Can sickle cell make life more difficult?

A: Yes, it does make life more on the edge of difficult mainly for a child who needs to understand several things. It can cause stunted growth with delayed sexual maturity. Avoiding things which can cause the crisis is another hurdle, being more careful with medicine, strenuous exercise, and high altitude is a must for sickle cell anemia people. Seeking for sickle cell anemia treatment is another must for such patients with this disease.


2) Q: Can sickle cell anemia lead to a fatal condition of organ failure in severe cases?

A: Yes, due to chronic deprivation of oxygen blood might cause damage to the nerves and organs like kidneys, spleen, and liver. Hence sickle cell anemia treatment must be looked for.


3) Q: Which is the best sickle cell anemia treatment option?

A: Stem cell transplant or the bone marrow transplant is the best way to for sickle cell anemia treatment. It helps in avoiding crises, preventing complications, and relieving symptoms.