What is Sickle Cell Anemia? How is it treated?

What is sickle cell anemia? How is it treated?
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.

Bone Marrow Transplantation for Sickle Cell

Bone Marrow Transplantation for Sickle cell
Bone Marrow Transplantation for Sickle cell

Bone marrow Transplantation is the best way to cure sickle cell disease or SCD. It is a little complex procedure than it appears to. Since it involves many things and the first one is finding the right hospital and a doctor. You must look for the best doctor who performs bone marrow Transplantation to discuss your or your relative’s case in depth. There are several concerns from finding a donor to combating financial expenses as well as post-transplant complications etc.

Sickle cell disease is caused by a hereditary defect with which you are born. It leads to abnormal sickle-shaped hemoglobin and hence makes it incapable to carry and deliver oxygen throughout the body, which is its main job. It even causes pain episodes due to blockage of blood flow in tiny veins. It can further use damage to brain, kidneys, heart, and other organs fo the body. So in order to prevent all organ damage bone marrow Transplantation becomes the only source or treatment.

Sickle cell disease is mainly a genetic disease which is passed from parents to their offsprings. These defective genes guide the blood-forming stem cells to produce defective sickle-shaped hemoglobin and hence there becomes no control of any drug over it and to stop it further a person must undergo bone marrow Transplantation.


How bone marrow Transplantation can help to treat sickle cell disease?

During bone marrow Transplantation, defective hematopoietic stem cells of the body are replaced with healthy ones. It is done by infusing healthy donor stem cells into the body. This helps in stopping more production of sickle-shaped cells causing SCD.


What are the complications during bone marrow Transplantation?

Like in any procedure this one also has its own attached risks and complications. But it is not mandatory you will experience them always. Also sometimes the increased episodes of pain in sickle cell disease make it essential to undergo bone marrow Transplantation even if there is certain risk involved.

Some of the complications include:

•   Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in case of rejections against bone marrow Transplantation. This happens very rarely and drugs can help in preventing this. But if somehow medicines do not work than it might lead to multiple organ damage.

•   Some damage of liver vessels can be caused during treatment.

•   Infections are very common to appear because of low immunity and precautions and medicine both in combination can help to prevent it.

•   The drugs used during bone marrow Transplantation sometimes negatively affect the fertility and infertility can be caused by them.


Normally nine out of 10 cases of bone marrow Transplantation turn out to be successful. However, in rare cases of transplant failures and rejections, another transplant might be required depending upon the condition of the patient.


Related FAQs: 

1) Q: Is it okay to get pregnant if a woman has sickle cell disease?

A: Yes, women can get pregnant since there are no specific severe problems caused by SCD during pregnancy. However, precautions will be required. SCD poses more risks of urinary tract infections during pregnancy and chances of developing severe anemic condition also increases due to less iron consumption.


2) Q: Is nickel cell disease a fatal disease?

A: Yes, it can turn out to be fatal if not treated on time. Extreme pain episodes, stroke, infections, and acute chest syndrome are very common to appear. But at times vast-occlusive crisis can even cause death in SCD.


3) Q: Is there any way to test the fetus for sickle cell anemia during pregnancy?

A: Yes, there are two tests for gene inhabitation which can be done. It involves certain techniques like chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, in order to know about the presence of SCD.

Sickle Cell Anemia in Africa Population

Sickle Cell Anemia in Africa Population
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.

About BloodCancerCure:

BloodCancerCure is the world’s first such organization working 24*7 on helping blood cancer patients. BloodCancerCure works for patients across the world by providing the lowest cost for bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, and Bone marrow test. You can contact at +91-8448533753 to talk to our experts at BloodCancerCure for BMT treatment in India.