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Sickle cell anemia, an illness or a curse

06.12.2018
Over the years, the global world has been exposed to so many illnesses or disease as a result of changing times. Unlike diseases like HIV/AIDS, Cancer, tuberculosis, Diabetes that have attracted global concern, the world is also faced by this very alarming but silent killer called Sickle Cell Anemia. In Africa, many have got to live with this illness which is brought about by a deficiency in the blood cells that pumps blood to the body. Victims of sickle Cell anemia have faced stigmatization all these years especially in the African context.

As defined by medics, Sickle Cell Anemia (SCD) is a genetic blood disease caused by the presence of an abnormal form of hemoglobin, such as hemoglobin S in an individuals blood. (Hemoglobin is the protein or element in the red blood cells that ensures easy oxygen circulation in the body). In other words, it can be defined as a biological deficiency or an inherited disease emanating from the genes of an incompatible couple. Children suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia have some traces of unhealthy protein in the red blood cells, making movement of oxygen very difficult. According to health statistics, a total number of three hundred thousand (300.000) babies are subjected to SCD annually, with an alarming number of such case recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa. The communicable disease has accounted for the high mortality rate of Children under the age of five in Africa’s Sub Saharan region.

In Africa, the prevalence of SCD related deaths accounts for up to 50 to 90%. The most amusing thing about it is that most African Governments have not given the SS disease utmost consideration, despite the fact that it has led to the death of many children in Sub Saharan Africa.

CAUSES

The most common cause of the sickle Cell disease is homozygosity i.e. a process where the genetic composition of a man is made of two identical genes; thus causing a deficiency or a defect. Here the body experiences mutation or change in the hemoglobin composition.

 Signs and symptoms of SCD

  • Slow growth, due to inadequate supply of oxygen and growth nutrients to the body.
  • Jaundice (A process where the eye looks yellow and most probably affects vision)
  • Physical defects (very fragile in nature)
  • Continuous swelling of hands and feet

TREAMENT

Having a perfect treatment for the Sickle Cell Anemia is still farfetched as the disease can only be temporally contained. This includes a blood and bone marrow transplant. However, only a very significant population of those in crisis can undergo the transplant. It is also very difficult in Africa’s sub Saharan region due to the poor living conditions of the population. It is worth noting that an early stage diagnosis of the SS disease and proper medical attention reduces the risk of the crisis.

Effects of the SS Disease

The sickle cell disease has enormous impacts such as stroke. It also damages the body’s organs including the lungs, liver, eyes, heart, Kidneys etc.

In a nutshell, even though the World Health Organisation, WHO and other health organs have intensified the fight against this silent killer, it is imperative for individuals to know their genotypic composition, a better and natural way of curbing sickle cell Anemia or the SS disease.

AFRIC Editorial Article.

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