Sickle-cell September: What is Sickle-cell?

What is Sickle-Cell Disease? 

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited condition that affects the red blood cells and various organs in the body. SCD affects the production of a protein called haemoglobin that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Each person inherits two haemoglobin genes, one from each parent. A normal gene will make normal haemoglobin (Hb). Sickle cell genes produce abnormal haemoglobin (HbS) which causes the red blood cells to change from a soft doughnut shape to a hard, sticky and sickle shape [like a banana].

Sickle cells can get stuck in small blood vessels and block the flow of blood and oxygen to organs within the body. These blockages can cause many problems.

The most common types of sickle cell disease are haemoglobin SS, haemoglobin SC, and sickle beta thalassemia.

Potential Health Problems of people with sickle cell disease

Infections

The spleen helps the body fight infections. Sickle cells may get caught in the spleen, preventing it from working as well as it should. As a result, people with sickle cell disease are more likely to get infections. Children are put on antibiotics until their immune system matures.

Anaemia

Sickle cells do not live as long as normal red blood cells. This causes anaemia (a low blood count). Anaemia can cause weakness and fatigue.

Pain

Sickle cells that get caught in the small blood vessels of the body cause the interruption of oxygen and blood flow; these ‘sickling’ crises can be very painful. This includes pain and swelling of the hands and feet.

Acute Chest Syndrome

Blockage of the flow of blood to the lungs can cause acute chest syndrome (ACS). ACS is similar to pneumonia; symptoms include: chest pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, and fever. It can be life threatening and should be treated in a hospital.

Stroke

Sickle cells can clog blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. A stroke can result in lifelong disabilities and learning problems. Children under 16 are at the highest risk for stroke.

Living with Sickle-cell

Pursue a Healthy Lifestyle

Like all people, you should strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes:

» A nourishing diet

» Enough sleep

» Regular physical activity

» People with SCD often tire easily, strenuous activities should be avoided.

 

Prevent and Control Complications

Avoid situations that may set off a crisis. Extreme heat or cold, as well as abrupt changes in temperature, are often triggers.

Avoid overexertion and dehydration. Take time out to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Support from family, friends and professionals

Like any other chronic illness sickle cell is difficult to live with. It is important to ask for help and talk to your family and friends. Receiving help and advice, sharing experiences and meeting with others with sickle cell disorder can be beneficial to you.

What is Sickle-cell trait?

Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) is an inherited blood disorder.

It is important to know if you have sickle cell trait.

Sickle cell trait is inherited from your parents, like hair or eye colour. If one parent has sickle cell trait, there is a 50% (1 in 2) chance with each pregnancy of having a child with sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait rarely causes any health problems. [Not enough is known about SCT to definitively state that it doesn’t cause health problems]

Potential Health Problems of people with sickle cell disease

Jaundice

This is a yellowing of the eyes and skin. It is painless and occurs because of rapid breakdown and death of sickled red blood cells.

Mental Health

Living with a lifelong chronic disease can cause a multitude of social, economic and personal problems.

Complications during pregnancy

A woman with sickle cell disease can have a healthy baby. However, risks are involved; both she and the baby should be closely monitored by a healthcare provider. Prenatal care is very important!

Other problems include:

» Chest pain and trouble breathing

» Organ damage

» Gallstones

» Painful erections in men

» Blood in the urine

» Eye disease

» Leg ulcers

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Sickle Cell Strong

I have really amazing news which I want to share with everyone!

I am one year hospital admissions free! #Sicklestrong

As I am sure you all know I have sickle-cell anaemia an inherited blood disorder. Red blood cells which are round and soft become hard and sickle shaped, this causes a multitude of problems such as painful crisis, organ damage and organ failure, extreme fatigue, strokes, swelling of extremities, bacterial infection and may lead to death.

Through the years I have struggled with having sickle-cell, there has been many ups and downs, bouts of depression in dealing with a life long illness but it has taught me many lessons, some hard but always necessary in making me the person that I am today and despite not realising it at the time I am grateful for everything I have been through.

It is a credit to all I have learnt and the support system around me that has kept me out of hospital this year. In my lifetime there has never been a full year without me being admitted to hospital, every year since I was born I am admitted to hospital five or six times a year from one to six weeks at a time.

I had enough of always being sick and I have tried different things throughout the years. But last year I decided to try something different subtle. I kept meditating, I tried to eat a little healthier but the main thing I have changed is drinking alkaline water. It has revolutionised my life, I drink four litres of it every day and it works! It really works. I am not saying I have not been sick for a year, I still get daily pain, and ‘mini-crisis’ every few months but the really bad crisis that I used to get has gone. I know it is not forever but I have enjoyed a year without once having to deal with that level of pain and I am beyond grateful. I am looking forward to more healthier days ahead.

 

Short Story: Galactic Confessionary part 7

in_the_heaven_by_razielmb-d6xh719

“You can’t just keep me here!” Shosana said trying to appear angry, despite how much her voice was shaking. He was going to kill her; she could almost taste her death in the air as his wings unfurled before snapping back again as if his patience was starting to slip.

“You can’t keep me here!” She repeated when the murderous look in his eyes had subsided a fraction, “it’s against the Universal code,”

“You mean the codes we helped write?” There was a deadly edge to his voice, his gaze if possible growing even more intense.

“So,” she cleared her throat, “do as I say not as I do.”

He blinked and looked almost startled, she felt a little surprised herself, she was talking back to a higher angel; it felt so surreal that the need to laugh almost overcame her.

“You should have care in the way you address me,” he said it softly, the words almost a caress, if you discounted what he had said and the look in his eyes.

“Or what?” she said unable and unwilling to not have her say despite knowing that her death had been guaranteed by her birth, “I’m dead either way, you say your archangels are discussing my death, more like the method in which I will die and –” Her voice was cut off by a strong hand around her throat. His wings spread, filling the room with darkness, with such power, that she was rendered speechless and reminded too late that she was speaking to no ordinary angel. A higher angel, one clearly trained in combat, one who could kill her with less than a thought, one who could – they were airborne.

Flying up through the mural on the ceiling, they kept climbing higher and higher. Shosana felt a moment of awe as she glimpsed Heavens skyline before they flew even higher, and came to a stop when her only view was distance planets and Havens nine moons.

“Maybe I should drop you, since your life is so worthless.”