How Sickle Cell Anemia Affects Our Body? 

How Sickle Cell Anemia Affects Our Body? 

Numerous diseases will transfer through heredity, and sickle cell anemia is one among them. Your entire blood cell shape will be switched from a round, flexible disc into rigid and sticky sickle cells that will choke your blood flow. Fortunately, treatment options available in the medical field help people with sickle cell anemia to live longer, further timely detection helps for better outcomes. Keep reading this blog to know more about sickle cell anemia and how it affects our bodies. 

An overview of sickle cell anemia: 

Sickle cell is one of the inherited disease, it primarily attacks your red blood cells, converting them to stiff and sticky sickled cells. These sickled cells will disturb the red blood cells from doing their regular job which is carrying oxygen throughout your body. The life span of these sickle cells is very short, and it leads to insufficient healthy red blood cells. Eventually, you will develop anemia. To treat your conditions effectively reach out to a sickle cell disease specialist in Coimbatore

In the old days, babies born with sickle cell anemia only lived till their adulthood, but now due to the advancements in the medical field and treatment options, more than half of people who are affected by sickle cell anemia live into their 50s. On the other hand, still, people with sickle cell anemia experience critical medical complications. However, doctors have a wide range of treatments that reduce the risk factors and symptoms when they take place.  

What are the symptoms of sickle cell anemia? 

Unlike other diseases, sickle cell anemia starts to exhibit symptoms in its early stages, even if babies have this condition they start to notice the symptoms from the 4 months of their life, but commonly they will occur around the 6-month mark. The signs of sickle cell anemia are: 

  • Extreme irritability or fatigue, due to anemia 
  • Babies will show fussiness 
  • When linked with kidney disease, bed-wetting may occur 
  • Jaundice 
  • Inflammation and pain in hands and feet 
  • More vulnerable to infections 
  • Experiencing pain in arms, legs, back, and chest 

How sickle cell anemia will affect our body? 

Sickle cell disease can cause potential health complications, which arise when the sickle cells block vessels in different areas of the body. Simply, the painful and damaging blockages are referred to as sickle cell crises. They can be caused by various circumstances like: 

  • Illness
  • Changes in weather 
  • Stress 
  • Dehydration 

Further, let’s see some complications that can arise due to sickle cell anemia disorder:  

1) Terrible Anemia: 

When there are insufficient RBCs anemia will develop, further, sickle cells can be easily broken down. This process of breaking RBCs is known as chronic hemolysis. Simply, the complete lifespan of RBCs is 120 days, while these sickle cells live only 10 to 20 days. 

2) Hand-foot Syndrome: 

This hand-foot syndrome develops when sickle-shaped RBCs block blood vessels in the hand or feet. This leads to swelling of feet and hands. Further, it can also cause leg ulcers. When it comes to babies inflamed hands and feet are the primary symptoms. 

3) Splenic Sequestration: 

In splenic sequestration, splenic vessels will be blocked by the sickle cells. It results in abrupt, painful enlargement of the spleen. Further, the spleen needs to be removed just to avoid complications of sickle cell disease through an operation named splenectomy. 

Even in some cases, patients will survive this damaged spleen, further, it will cease its function and also will be shrunken. This condition is referred to as autosplenectomy. Whereas, people without spleen are more prone to bacterial infections. 

4) Slow Growth: 

People with SCD will often experience delayed growth. Usually, kids will be shorter and will regain their height when reaching adulthood. Even, sexual maturation will also be delayed. This occurs due to sickle cell RBCs being unable to supply sufficient nutrients and oxygen. 

5) Neurological Issues: 

Neurological issues like strokes, seizures, or even coma can occur from sickle cell disease. These issues can be caused by blockages in the brain, and sudden medical treatment is required. 

6) Eye Problems and Skin Ulcers: 

When there is a blockage in vessels supplying blood to the eye, blindness can be caused. This will badly damage the retina. If the small vessels get blocked, skin ulcers can be developed in the legs.  

7) Lung Disease: 

Over time lung damage can happen, like reduced blood flow can lead to hypertension in the lungs and scarring of the lungs. People with sickle cell anemia will get this issue sooner when compared with others. Further, this lung damage turns it tough to transfer oxygen into the blood,  often this will result in frequent sickle cell crises.

8) Priapism: 

Priapism is only noticed in men, priapism is nothing but a painful and lingering erection faced by men with sickle cell anemia. This will occur when the blood vessels in the penis get blocked. If you leave this untreated, it may lead to impotence. 

9) Gallstone: 

Unlike other health issues caused by sickle cell anemia, gallstones will not be caused due to blockage in blood vessels, but they develop when there is a breakdown in RBCs. Bilirubin is the byproduct of this breakdown. Further, more number of bilirubin can lead to gallstones. They are also referred to as pigment stones. 

10) Sickle Chest Syndrome: 

Sickle chest syndrome is one of the critical health issues caused by the sickle cell crisis. It causes acute chest pain and is linked with signs like cough, fever, sputum production, shortness of breath, and low blood oxygen levels. Visit a hematology hospital in Coimbatore whenever any unusual signs are noticed in chest X-rays, it may indicate the presence of pneumonia or lung damage.  

Bottom line: 

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease, which will cause multiple health issues. So understanding how it affects the body, its symptoms, and its complications is significant for effective management and improving the overall quality of life for those people who are affected by sickle cell anemia. Also, with the help of medical advancements and ongoing research, there is hope for better outcomes. 

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