Sickle Cell Anemia is a an inherited, chronic disease in which the red blood cells, normally disc-shaped, become .
crescent shaped. As a result, they function abnormally and break down, causing recurrent painful episodes. This disease .
is caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S. It is inherited as a recessive trait which means it .
occurs in someone who has inherited hemoglobin S from both parents. .
The overall incidence is eight out of 100,000 people. However, it is more common in some populations, affecting .
one out of 600 African Americans and one out of 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanic Americans. Sickel Cell Anemia may become .
life threatening when damaged red blood cell break down or bone marrow fails to produce blood cells. If this is .
happens repeatidly it can cause damage to the kidneys, lungs, bone, liver and the central nervous system. Blocked .
blood vessels and damaged organs can cause sudden and servere painful episodes. These painful episodes which occur .
in 70% of patients, can last hours to days, affecting the bones of the back, the long bones and the chest. Some patients .
have one episode every few years, while others have many episodes per year. The episodes can be severe enough to .
require admission to the hospital for pain control. Many manifestations of this disease are a result of the fragility and .
inflexibility of the sickle red blood cells. When patients experience dehydration, infection, and low oxygen supply, these .
fragile red blood cells assume a crescent shape, causing red blood cell destruction and thickening of the blood. .
The symtoms of Sickle Cell Anemia include fatigue, breathlessness, cough, rapid heart rate and delayed growth. .
Also ulcers, bone pain, abdominal pain, and joint pain are often associated with the disease. Additional symptoms .
include bloody or excessive urination, as well as poor eyesight, and decreased fertility. .
Prompt treatment of infections, adequate oxygenation, and preventing dehydration may prevent sickling of red .