You may have heard of sickle cell anemia before. This is a serious disease caused by the development of irregular hemoglobin – a protein found in our red blood cells that is able to carry oxygen throughout the body – known as hemoglobin S. When l hemoglobin S emerges, it has a dramatic effect on the way our red blood cells function. Specifically, it can significantly weaken these cells, making them so fragile that under the microscope they appear as sickles (or scythes), hence the name.
Besides affecting the shape of a red blood cell, hemoglobin S can also reduce the body’s ability to carry oxygen through the body, which means our major organs and tissues can be adversely affected. Unfortunately, if both parents have sickle cell anemia, a child is usually guaranteed to inherit it. The key is to recognize the symptoms of this disease and take action when it begins to appear.
People with sickle cell disease are very familiar with the term ‘crisis’. This is because patients with sickle cell anemia tend to experience episodes of intense pain and discomfort, called seizures, which can spread throughout the body, from the chest to the back and into the muscles and joints. legs. These seizures can be so intense that they can make everyday activities, such as walking to work or looking after children, monumental tasks.
It should be noted that seizures may not occur often; in fact, some people don’t experience it for years. It is also rare for seizures to appear in young children, although it can be difficult to identify them when a child’s language skills are still developing. Generally speaking, seizures appear a few times a year and can be so intense that they force a sickle cell patient to spend a few days in the hospital.