Sickle Cell Anaemia – The Killer Disease

Several children of African descent have lost their lives to the dreaded blood condition called the sick cell anaemia.

It is a blood condition which, if not properly managed, can easily send the affected person to an early grave.

It is common especially in the sub Sahara Africa mostly in countries with serious cases of Malaria usually caused by mosquitoes.

Apart from the African countries, it is also reported to occur in several parts of the world.

Symptoms

Affected persons, especially children, are easily recognized by their pale looking nature. In most cases they are usually under-weight when compared with their peers. They get tired easily and on frequent occasions, they have serious pains around the joints and in the bones which usually lead to a serious condition called crisis.

The Cause

According to medical experts, sickle cell conditions are inherited from parents in much the same way as blood type, hair color and texture, eye color, and other physical traits.

There are two popularly known sickle cell anaemia conditions and these are:

1. The full sickle cell anaemia called the SS and
2. The sickle cell anaemia trait called the AS.

The SS has been know to be the most deadly condition while children with the AS has a higher survival rate than the SS affected children.

Avoidance

The best way to avoid having a sickle cell anaemic child is to make sure that two people with sickle cell trait should never get married.

The two intended couple should visit a hospital for genotype test before they get too deep into any relationship that may lead to marriage or have the female get pregnant.

If one of the two has a genotype called SS, the other party MUST be AA otherwise, the relationship should be discontinued.

If the two are both AS, there is a chance that 1 out of every 4 of their children will have the dreaded SS sickle cell disease.

If one partner is SS and the other has sickle-cell trait AS, there is a 50% chance of a child having sickle-cell disease (SS) and a 50% chance of a child having sickle-cell trait (AS).

So what happens if your child has this condition?

Prevention

Once a child is discovered to have any of the blood disorders, especially the SS, it is very important to seek medical advice.

The following measures will also ensure that the child is prevented from serious frequent crisis:

1. Take medication as prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner religiously
2. Do not expose the child to mosquito bite or any other condition that may lead to malaria. The use of insecticides and malaria treated nets should be encouraged.
3. Prevent the child from engaging in any strenuous exercise.
4. The child should never be dehydrated. Should take as much liquid as possible everyday.
5. Too much exposure to cold should be discouraged.
6. A female adult with the SS condition is usually at risk during child birth due to severe loss of blood. Hence the number of children should be limited as much as possible.
7. Regular medical checkups and test should be encouraged. Test for blood count should be monitored frequently.

The above list is obviously not exhaustive, but general hygiene and feeding should be taking seriously.

Though the condition is critical, but proper management could help to improve the life of the affected people and several of them have been known to live a good life till their old age.