Sickle cell anaemia is a genetic disease passed down within families in which the red blood cells take on an abnormal shape. The red blood cells are crescent shaped and give the appearance of a sickle and hence the name sickle cell anaemia. It is said that the anaemia is caused due to the presence of abnormal haemoglobin called as haemoglobins.
This haemoglobin changes the shape of the red blood cells especially when they are confronted with very low oxygen levels. The incidence of full-blown sickle cell anaemia increases when both parents have the disease. If one parent has the disease, then you will simply be a carrier and may not have full-blown symptoms of sickle cell anaemia.
Best Treatments For Sickle Cell Anaemia
Symptoms Of Sickle Cell Anaemia
The disease can be quite debilitating and painful. Episodes of ill health called as ‘crisis’ can occur. These can last for a few hours or even for a few days. The common symptoms of sickle cell anaemia are fatigue, paleness, chest pain, breathlessness, bone pain, back pain, excessive thirst, fever, ulcers on the body, poor eyesight and in some cases stroke.
Treatment for sickle cell anaemia
The treatment of sickle cell anaemia is aimed at better care and management of patients especially when they are undergoing a crisis. Following are some treatment strategies adopted to cure sickle cell anaemia.
The patient may have to be put on folic acid supplements for life. Folic acid helps in the growth and development of new blood cells. This becomes a part of the ongoing treatment.
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People suffering from a severe kind of sickle cell anaemia may have to go in for regular blood transfusions to make up for the defective red blood cells in their body. Regular blood transfusions help to restore the balance so that the body is able to carry out its daily processes. The blood transfusions may be done on a weekly basis or sometimes as often as once in three days.
Certain pain medications may be prescribed to patients especially during a crisis episode. These pain medications give temporary relief from bone and joint pain.
This medicine is normally prescribed to patients to give them relief from severe chest pain.
Young children may have to be put on frequent courses of antibiotics especially since they are very vulnerable and suffer from frequent bacterial infections.
Bone Marrow Transplants
Like any blood cell related problem, sickle cell anaemia can be completely cured with a bone marrow transplant. This, however, ceases to be a viable option especially since most patients find it very difficult to find a well-matched donor. The possibility of finding the perfect donor almost becomes negligible. Most of the patients are restricted to lifelong ongoing treatment.
At times patients have to take in extra oxygen through masks in times of a crisis episode. This helps more oxygen to be transferred to the body.All children have to take essential vaccinations sometimes more than what has been prescribed in order to give them protection against various diseases.
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