SICKLE CELL ANEMIA

 ABOUT SICKLE CELL ANEMIA

THE MOST COMMON TYPE OF SICKLE CELL DISEASE

ISSUES:

HAND-FOOT SYNDROME                                                                                      sickle cell anemia hand
(DACTYLITIS)

  • FATIGUE
  • PAIN, Plus

EYE PROBLEMS

BLOCKAGE OF THE BLOOD VESSELS IN THE EYE CAUSED BY SICKLE CELLS CAN SEVERELY DAMAGE THE RETINA AND MAY LEAD TO BLINDNESS.

JAUNDICE

YELLOWING OF THE SKIN AND EYES, WHICH IS CAUSED BY THE RAPID BREAKDOWN OF RED BLOOD CELLS.  THIS PRODUCES AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF BILIRUBIN IN THE BODY.

INFECTIONS

IN GENERAL, CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO INFECTIONS AND HAVE A HARDER TIME FIGHTING INFECTIONS ONCE THEY START.

  • VULNERABILITY TO INFECTIONS IS THE RESULT OF DAMAGE TO THE SPLEEN FROM THE SICKLED RED CELLS.  THIS PREVENTS THE SPLEEN FROM DESTROYING BACTERIA IN THE BLOOD.
  • INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN ARE ESPECIALLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO BACTERIAL INFECTIONS.
    • BACTERIAL INFECTIONS CAN KILL IN AS LITTLE AS 9 HOURS FROM ONSET OF FEVER.
  • •PNEUMOCCAL INFECTIONS USED TO BE THE PRINCIPLE CAUSE OF DEATH IN YOUNG CHILDREN WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA.
  • •DEATHS WERE REDUCED WHEN PHYSICIANS BEGAN ROUTINELY GIVING PENICILLIN (PROPHYLATIC PENICILLIN), ON A PREVENTIVE BASIS, TO INFANTS WHO WERE IDENTIFIED AT BIRTH OR IN EARLY INFANCY WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA.

STROKE

  • SICKLE CELL CAUSES DAMAGE TO THE WALLS OF THE BLOOD VESSELS BY STICKING TO THEM.
    • THIS ACTION RESTRICTS THE FLOW OF BLOOD TO THE BRAIN CAUSING A STROKE.
    • THIS TYPE OF STROKE OCCURS PRIMARILY IN CHILDREN.

ACUTE CHEST SYNDROME

ACUTE CHEST SYNDROME IS A LIFE-THREATENING COMPLICATION OF SICKLE CELL ANEMIA, SIMILAR TO PNEUMONIA.

  • THIS SYNDROME IS CAUSED BY:
    •  INFECTION, OR
    • SICKLED CELLS TRAPPED IN THE LUNGS.
    • THIS SYNDROME IS CHARACTERIZED BY:
      • CHEST PAIN
      •  FEVER, AND
      • ABNORMAL CHEST X-RAYS.

WHAT PERSONS WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA CAN DO:

DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS

  • THE CONSUMPTION OF EXTRA WATER CAN SLOW DOWN THE SICKLE EFFECT.
  • EVEN THE SMALLEST AMOUNT OF WATER CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
  • FOR EXAMPLE, 10 PERCENT MORE WATER CAN SLOW DOWN SICKLING BY 1,700 PERCENT.

WHY ARE FLUIDS IMPORTANT?

SICKLE CELLS CAN CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE KIDNEYS AND OTHER BODY ORGANS.

  • WHEN THE KIDNEYS ARE DAMAGED, THE BODY DOESN’T HOLD WATER VERY WELL.
  • INDIVIDUALS WITH SICKLE CELL CAN BECOME DEHYDRATED VERY RAPIDLY IF THEY DON’T DRINK ENOUGH FLUIDS TO REPLACE THE WATER THAT IS LOST.

WATER IS THE BEST FLUID BUT, ALSO HELPFUL IS:

  • MILK
  • SOUP
  • FRUIT
  • SPORT DRINKS, AND
  • JUICE (THAT IS MORE ALKALINE).

AVOID CAFFEINE.

  • CAFFEINE CAN CAUSE THE KIDNEYS TO RELEASE MORE WATER INTO THE URINE.

IMPORTANT SYMPTOMS

FEVER

FEVER IS USUALLY AN IMPORTANT INDICATOR OF INFECTIONS.

  •  INFECTIONS CAN PRESENT A LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SICKLE CELL.

SEE A DOCTOR OR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY — ESPECIALLY IF A CHILD WITH SICKLE CELL HAS A FEVER OF 101° OR HIGHER.

SIGNS OF FEVER IN BABIES INCLUDE:

  • EXTREME CRANKINESS
  • INCESSANT CRYING
  • RAPID BREATHING
  • SCREAMING EVEN WHEN TOUCHED OR HELD BY FAMILY MEMBERS
  • LACK OF ENERGY
  • POOR APPETITE
  • DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF WET DIAPERS (WHICH INDICATES DEHYDRATION)

WHAT IS FOLATE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

FOLATE, OFTEN CALLED FOLIC ACID, IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL VITAMINS.

  • FOLIC ACID HELPS TO MAKE RED BLOOD CELLS
  • FOLIC ACID HELPS RENEW ALL THE CELLS IN THE BODY.

WHEN THE BODY DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH FOLATE, MANY HEALTH PROBLEMS CAN RESULT.

  • THE BODY’S ABILITY TO TAKE IN IMPORTANT NUTRIENTS, CAN DECREASE, AND
  • PRODUCTION OF NEW RED BLOOD CELLS CAN BE IMPACTED.