Not everyone who has sickle cell anemia will get the bone marrow disease. In fact, it can happen to anyone.
Sickle cell anemia is an autosomal recessive genetic condition. You need to inherit two copies of the sickle cell gene from two parents to get sickle cell anemia.
When you have two copies of the sickle?
People with sickle cell anemia have two copies of the sickle cell gene.
What does it mean to have two copies of the sickle cell gene?
Sickle cell anemia is caused by a mutation in the beta-hemoglobin gene. This gene is on the X chromosome, a sex chromosome.
The hemoglobin gene is on the X chromosome, a sex chromosome. When a person has two copies of the sickle cell anemia gene, they have sickle cell anemia.
The beta-hemoglobin gene is on the X chromosome, a sex chromosome. When a person has two copies of the beta-hemoglobin gene, they have beta-hemoglobin S.
What happens if you inherit two copies of the beta-hemoglobin gene?
If you have two copies of the beta-hemoglobin gene, you can get beta-hemoglobin S, which is a form of hemoglobin.
If you have two copies of the beta-hemoglobin gene and you pass the gene to a child, that child will have beta-hemoglobin S.
If you have two copies of the sickle cell gene, you can get sickle cell anemia.
What does it mean if you have sickle cell anemia?
People with sickle cell anemia have two copies of the beta-hemoglobin gene. If you have sickle cell anemia, you will have sickle cell anemia.
What are the symptoms of sickle cell anemia?
Symptoms of sickle cell anemia can include:
- Frequent infections
- Leg pain
- Skin discoloration
- Swelling of the face and tongue
- Chest pain
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition. You can only pass it to your children if both of your parents are carriers of sickle cell genes.
If you have a sibling with sickle cell anemia, that sibling also has the condition.
What causes sickle cell anemia?
Sickle cell anemia has a genetic cause.
How does sickle cell anemic affect the body?
Sickle cell anemic often looks like a sickle-shaped bruise. It can cause:
- Pain in the upper leg
- Swelling in the legs
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Swelling in the chest
What are the complications of sickle cell anemia?
Complications from sickle cell anemic can include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Inflammation of the skin
What is the long-term outlook?
The outlook for people with sickle cell anemia depends on the severity of the condition.
The symptoms usually improve with treatment.
How can sickle cell anemia be prevented?
You can’t prevent sickle cell anemic. However, you can prevent getting sickle cell anemic.
People with sickle cell anemia should follow the following guidelines:
- Eat a healthy diet to help prevent anemia.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol that can cause anemia.
- Drink up to eight cups of fluids per day.
- Exercise regularly.
- Take medications as prescribed.
Can sickle cell anemia be prevented?
The cause of sickle cell anemia is unknown. However, it may be due to a gene mutation.
It’s important to know that you can’t prevent sickle cell anemia. You can prevent sickle cell anemia by eating a healthy diet and avoiding drugs and alcohol that can cause anemia.
How is sickle cell anemia diagnosed?
Doctors can usually diagnose sickle cell anemia by looking at a child’s blood sample.
You may need a bone marrow biopsy if you have symptoms of sickle cell anemia and you want to know what’s causing your symptoms.
What is the treatment for sickle cell anemia?
The treatment for sickle cell anemia depends on the severity of the condition.
Treating people with mild sickle cell anemia can include:
- Treating infections.
- Taking pain medication.
- Taking iron supplements.
- Taking aspirin to prevent blood clots.
People with mild sickle cell anemia may not need any treatment.
If the child has symptoms of severe sickle cell anemia, they may need:
- Blood transfusions to keep up with the body’s need for oxygen.
- Red blood cell transfusions to prevent anemia.
- Medicine to prevent blood clots.
- Surgery to repair a ruptured blood vessel.
As the child gets older, they will need blood transfusions and medicine. These treatments can prevent blood clots and severe anemia.
The goal of treatment is to keep the child with sickle cell anemia as healthy as possible.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children with sickle cell anemia receive blood transfusions once every three months.
If the child isn’t getting enough oxygen, they will need a ventilator. A ventilator helps the child breathe.
The goal of treatment is to prevent brain damage and other complications.
Living with sickle cell anemia
Living with sickle cell anemia can be challenging. It’s important to stay physically active and follow your child’s treatment plan.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children with sickle cell anemia wear shoes that are low-heeled and have good support.
Your child should avoid:
- Standing for long periods.
- Playing sports that require a lot of running.
- Playing sports that require jumping.
- Going out in the water (swimming).
- Playing contact sports.
- Climbing stairs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children with sickle cell anemia get the following vaccinations:
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccine.
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
- Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine.
- Influenza (flu) vaccine.
- Hepatitis A and B vaccine.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Your child should get the following vaccinations:
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine.
- Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine.
Over to you
If you suspect that your child has sickle cell anemia, see a doctor. They can check for the gene mutation that causes sickle cell anemia.
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