Sickle cell anemia is one of the most well-known occurrences of the disease. Sickle cell disease itself can be very harmful by which the body creates red blood cells that are of a different shape, often shaped like crescents.
The red blood cells are very important with regards to the transportation of oxygen around the body by containing a protein that is very iron-rich called haemoglobin. Thankfully there are various noticeable sickle cell anemia symptoms.
Unlike regular blood cells, the sickle cells are said to carry a different type of haemoglobin instead of the regular protein-iron-rich one it is used to; this is called sickle haemoglobin or haemoglobin S. This changes the shape of the cell to the crescent. The real problem behind sickle cells is they are a lot more sticky than a standard red cell, this means they are able to stick together or to parts of the blood vessel to cause a blockage. This causes blood to not flow as efficiently as intended and can lead to a range of problems including pain, organ damage and very harmful infections.
What is Anemia?
As you would expect sickle cell anemia is a specific type of anemia. Some think this problem is only relative to the lack of iron in the blood however this is not the case. Anemia is most commonly known to be a problem where your blood does not have enough red blood cells present, or it doesn’t contain enough haemoglobin. This does in a way tie in with the amount of iron in the blood theory.
Sickle cells are known to die a lot faster than a regular strong blood cell. The different is that red blood cells are said to live around 100 days more in the bloodstream. Bone marrow tries to create red blood cells to keep the number of cells present even before the amount drops too low. As sickle cells die a lot faster the marrow isn’t able to keep with the rapid decreasing in the number of cells.
Sickle cell anemia is something is inherited and sadly there is no way to get rid of it. You get the sickle gene from both parents and it is a lifelong condition.
What are the signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia?
Tiredness or Fatigue is probably the most common symptom of Anemia, it is what most people go to the doctor and where most people find out they actually have the disease. Sufferers are often faced with tiredness due to the lack of iron in their bodies. It causes them to get tired very easily and can have a very bad effect on their everyday lives.
Other symptoms include:
Lack of breath, it is common for those with anemia to become out of breath when doing physical activities
Dizziness, you may become dizzy frequently particularly with exercise
Headaches, headaches can occur at any time throughout the day
Paleness, some sufferers note being paler than usual
Symptoms of pain that can occur:
It is said that whole body pain is a well-known symptom or sign of sickle cell anemia. As it affects almost every area of the body including bones, lungs, joints and muscles it is common to get shocks of pain throughout the entire body.