Sickle cell anemia is a disease commonly found in African Americans. In the past, this disease was one of the leading causes of death in children under 5 years old. Sickle cell anemia is clearly a life threatening disease, but after years of research, society has discovered exactly what sickle cell anemia entails, how it affects the carrier, and different ways of treating it.
Sickle cell anemia is a condition that affects a child and their family. This disease may affect the physical and psychosocial well being of the child. (Texas department of health.) This disease is inherited by the mother or father. In other words, sickle cell anemia cannot be caught, acquired, or otherwise transmitted. (March of Dimes) Sickle cell affects a protein inside the red blood cells hemoglobin. Hemoglobin in the red blood cells carries oxygen from the lungs of the body. In a normal and healthy body, the red blood cells are round and flexible, but in a body with sickle cell, the red blood cells are distorted and rigid. Often looking like a c-shaped tool called a sickle. (What Special problem ) The sickle cell mutation reflects a single change in the amino acid building blocks of the oxygen- transport protein, hemoglobin. .
This disease comes in several forms. The most common one is referred to as SS (the child inherits two sickle cell genes). This is the most severe form. "Polymerization of HbS molecules within the red cells raises the internal viscosity and reduces compliance of the cell membrane so that HbS containing cells are less able negotiate capillary beds leading to premature red cell destruction (hemolysis) and obstruction of blood flow (vaso- occlision)". (Serjeant 3) The two other forms are SC (the child inherits one sickle cell gene and one gene from another abnormal type of hemoglobin called "C"). This form occurs in black populations in North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe, but has not been seen anywhere else.