About Sickle Cell:
If you have Sickle cell disease, you know you experience aches around joints over your body (e.g., lower back aches, elbows, knees, chest, etc.). This experience is called the sickle cell crises. It usually happens when the red blood cells in your body are replacing themselves. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease at present. The sickle cell indicates abnormality in the shape of your red blood cell, which is the part that carries oxygen to your heart, lungs, and other bodily organs. While the normal red blood cells have the shape of a circle, red blood cells in people with sickle cell is about half thus indicating half moon shape (Sickle). The challenge with the sickle cell shaped is that it makes transportation of oxygen to body organs difficult as the sickle shape creates blockage through attachment to the cell wall (see picture). In extreme cases this may result in stroke and other heart problems.
Living with sickle cell:
While there is no known cure for sickle cell. People with the disease can still live a relatively normal life with medication and healthy nutrition. There are medications you can take to manage or live with the disease and live fuller life.
Medications & Treatment:
Folic acid (400 mcg to 1 mg/day)--Helps the body in producing new blood cells while minimizing the risk of painful crises. Make sure you take it daily. This drug has also been found to help pregnant women in reducing the risk of birth defect.
Transfusion: Blood replaceBlood replacement to increase your blood counts (be careful however).
HyrdroBlood replaceBlood replacement to increase your blood counts (be careful however).
Hyrdroxyurea- MediBlood replaceBlood replacement to increase your blood counts (be careful however).
Hyrdroxyureapainful crises or hospitalization per year (has side effects so ask you doctor). However, it must be given under doctor's care (need to monitor your blood count regularly. (Do not take any medication unless prescribed by your doctor, it will do more harm than good).
Bone Marrow Transplant not a viable option because of rarity in finding matching sibling donor.
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