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Medical:Disease/Sickle Cell Anemia

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Sickle Cell Trait (image from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/)

Contents

General Information

Disease Type: Genetic

Method of Infection: Hereditary


Description

Sickle Cell is a genetic disorder and comes in two forms: One where only half of the cells are mutated (carrying only one sickle cell gene), and then where all cells have the sickle cell trait (sickle cell Anemia, and carries two genes). Those with the sickle cell trait may not ever experience symptoms associated with sickle cell anemia, but will poses a resistance to Malaria.

Sickle Cell developed in African nations, and in those populations effected by Malaria. It is almost never found in Asian or Caucasian populations.

Symptoms

Full Blown Anemia: Pain in the joints, organ damage, susceptibility to infections. This is due the unusual shape of blood cells which allow them to become caught in capillaries thus restricting blood flow.

Those with partial anemia (carrying both the normal and sickle cell genes) may tire more easily than others, and be more susceptible to dehydration. Normal red blood cells act to unblock caught sickle cells in capillaries, so issues associated with pain and organ damage are greatly reduced. As an added bonus, the affected gets a resistance to the microbes that cause Malaria

Treatment

There is no cure for sickle cell anemia as it is a genetic disorder.

Links

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Sca/SCA_WhatIs.html

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