Do you experience bone or chest pain? Feeling extremely tired? These are some signs of sickle cell disease. Left untreated, it can lead to impotency in men and sometimes it can lead to stroke. To treat this disease, you should know its symptoms. Keep reading to find out the symptoms…
Sickle cell disease, also known as sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease, in which the red blood cells turns into crescent shape and can break easily leading to anemia.
Normally, the red blood cells are round and flexible. This will allow them to move through the smaller blood vessels to supply oxygen to all the parts of the body. Normal red blood cells live up to 120 days whereas sickle red blood cells live for 10-20 days. The damaged sickle red blood cells can form sticky masses that can stick to the blood vessels. This can block the blood vessels which can cause severe pain.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are as follows:
- Extreme tiredness
- Chest pain
- Bone pain
- Frequent infections
- Joint pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Vision problems
In babies, sickle cell disease can cause swelling in hands and feet, whereas in children, it causes delay in growth.
What are the causes?
Sickle cell disease is caused by abnormal gene, which produces sickle hemoglobin. When oxygen is released from sickle hemoglobin, it sticks together forming long rods in the body. These rods affect the shape of red blood cells, resulting in the formation of sickle cells .
Are you at high risk?
A child gets sickle cell disease when both father and mother have this disease. If only one parent has this disease, then the child will be born with some sickle cells but his/her body won’t show any symptoms. However, he can pass the abnormal gene to his children.
What happens if ignored?
- Stroke: Sickle cells can block the blood flow to the brain. Insufficient blood supply to brain can lead to stroke. Seizures, sudden speech difficulties, etc. are the symptoms of stroke due to this disease
- Acute chest syndrome: When sickle cells block the blood vessels in lungs, it can lead to acute chest syndrome. Check for symptoms like chest pain, difficulty in breathing etc.
- Pulmonary hypertension: Sickle cell disease can cause high blood pressure in the lungs. Watch for symptoms of pulmonary hypertension like shortness of breath, fatigue, etc. This can be life threatening
- Organ damage: When sickle cells block the flow of blood in the blood vessels, they can cause damage to kidneys, liver and spleen
- Blindness: Sickle cells can block the blood flow in tiny blood vessels present in the eyes. This causes damage to retina, which can lead to blindness
- Gallstones: The breakdown of red blood cells produces bilirubin. High levels of bilirubin can produce gallstones
- Priapism: Men who are affected by this disease can experience painful and uncontrolled erections. This condition is called priapism
Hence, if you experience any of the symptoms, consult a family practice doctor online at eVaidya now!
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