preview

Sickle Cell Anemia Essays

Good Essays
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disorder that mostly affects people of African ancestry, but also occurs in other ethnic groups, including people who are of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern descent. More than 70,000 Americans have sickle cell anemia. And about 2 million Americans - and one in 12 African Americans - have sickle cell trait (this means they carry one gene for the disease, but do not have the disease itself).

Sickle cell anemia occurs when a person inherits two abnormal genes (one from each parent) that cause their red blood cells to change shape. Instead of being flexible and round, these cells are more rigid and curved in the shape of the farm tool known as a sickle - that's where the disease gets its name. The shape
…show more content…
People with sickle cell anemia have inherited two sickle cell genes, one from each parent. A child who has inherited the sickle cell gene from only one parent will not develop the disease, but will have sickle cell trait. People who have sickle cell trait don't have sickle cell anemia or symptoms of the disease, but they can pass the sickle cell gene to their own children.

Because people with sickle cell trait don't have the disease, they may never discover that they carry the gene. That's why it's recommended that teens who are unsure of their sickle cell status ask their doctors about testing. The National Institutes of Health recommends that all newborns be screened for sickle cell disease, and testing at birth is now required in almost every state. This helps infants with sickle cell anemia get the care and treatment they need right away.

Signs and Symptoms

Teens with sickle cell anemia may develop jaundice (pronounced: jon-dis), a condition that results from the high rate of red blood cell breakdown. Jaundice can cause the skin and the whites of a person's eyes to develop a yellowish tint.

People with sickle cell anemia also may have bouts of pain in the chest, stomach, arms, legs, or other parts of the body. This is caused by sickle cells blocking blood flow through the blood vessels. Feeling tired and having trouble fighting
Get Access