What Is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease is a genetic disease which is characterized by the presence of abnormally shaped red blood cells. It is an autosomal recessive blood disorder in which the flexibility of the red blood cells is decreased. Due to this mutation of the haemoglobin gene there can arise a number of complications. General studies of patients with sickle cell disease have shown greatly reduced life expectancies as well with males at 42 years and females at 48 years.

What Is Sickle Cell Disease

What is sickle cell mutation?

Essentially the genetic disorder is the result of a mutated gene in the human body. Many people can carry this gene and not be affected by it, but if the condition manifests it can be dangerous. The sickle cell is the abnormal hemoglobin carrying red blood cell which contacts and distorts itself into the shape of a sickle.

These cells are much more fragile and delicate than the normal red blood cell due to being highly inflexible. This means that they are more likely to rupture. If a great many red blood cells rupture and their numbers reduce in the blood due to hemolysis, the condition called anemia occurs.

What is sickle cell anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is the same as sickle cell disease. Since it is caused by reduced hemoglobin which is also associated with regular or classic cases of anemia, the two are linked via nomenclature. Essentially the reduction of red blood cells in the body is known as anemia. If the red blood cells are reduced due to them being in the shape of sickle cells and being ruptured, then the following condition is referred to as sickle cell anemia. Most of the problems and complications of reduced red blood cells in both the diseases are similar as well.

Why is sickle cell anemia dangerous?

Now that we understand what is sickle cell, we must understand why it is dangerous. A sickle cell is essentially a red blood cell which has a mutant gene. This mutant gene makes it prone to beingruptured or destroyed. If the red blood cells in the body reduce the capacity of the blood to send oxygen to the body’s tissues is greatly impaired. This means that the organs of the body will be unable to function in an optimal manner. If continued undetected it would also cause permanent damage to the organs of the body.

What is sickle cell testing?

Just having a low blood count does not mean that you have sickle cell anemia. It could be regular anemia which is easily remedied with proper food and exercise. However if you wish to know if you have sickle cell anemia you must undergo a special test called hemoglobin electrophoresis. Most large and reputed hospitals will have the facilities for you to undergo this test. Since it is a genetic disorder it would be prudent for people who have a prior history in the family of sickle cell disease to get themselves and their children tested for the disorder.

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