World Sickle Cell Awareness Day

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day: Causes, Symptoms, How to celebrate and Treatment

1 year ago

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is celebrated every year on 19th June. The aim is to increase public knowledge and awareness of the patients and their families suffering from sickle cell disease.  

In 2006, United Nations and World Health Organizations celebrated 19th June as World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. In this disease, patients have sickle-shaped red blood cells. These sickle-shaped blood cells stick together and block blood flow and cause difficulty in breathing. People suffering from sickle cell RBCs face anemia, infection, and other health problems. This disease also harms a person’s brain, kidneys, liver, joints, skin, and bones. According to WHO, every year millions of people are affected by sickle cell disease. 

Causes of Sickle Cells Disease

Sickle Cell Disaese is caused when there are changes in genes that tell the body to make iron rich compounds in the red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body parts. Sickle cells get associated with red blood cells and become stick & rigid. If both parents have this disease, then there are chances that the child will born with Sickle cell disease. If one of the parents has this disease, then the child is more likely to have minor Sickle cell disease.

Symptoms of Sickle Cells Disease

1. Delayed Growth or Puberty – Red Blood cells provide oxygen and nutrients to the body to grow. The shortage of healthy blood cells can slow the growth and delay puberty in teenagers.

2. Anaemia – Anaemia occurs due to shortage of red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells usually live for 120 days but sickle cells die in 10-20 days. This causes the  shortage of red blood cells  in the body causing anemia. With Anemia comes other problems like fatigue and body pain.

3. Swelling of Hands and Feet – This condition occurs when blood flow is blocked in the bones and it mostly occurs in children who are suffering from this disease.

4. Vision Problems –  Tiny blood vessels that supply the blood to eyes can become plugged with sickle cells. This damages the retina and leads to vision problems. 

5. Episodes of pain

6. Frequent infections

7. Severe headache

8. Sudden weakness on one side of your or your child’s body.

9. Change in alertness

10. Trouble speaking

11. Trouble seeing

12. Trouble walking

13. Fever

14. Coughing

15. Trouble breathing

16. Pain in bones

How to celebrate World Sickle Cell Awareness Day:-

  • Spread Awareness  about the disease and educate the people on how to tackle it.
  • The United Nations & World Health Organization conduct some activities to support people who are suffering from this disease.
  • Make health services more accessible –  Help patients to understand all of their prevention and treatment options.
  • Encourage research for the treatment of the disease
  • Seminars are to be conducted to inform people about the disease.
  • Motivate people to become blood donors. Person suffering from  sickle cell disease occasionally needs a blood transfusion. 

Treatment of Sickle Cells Disease

  • Blood Transfusion:- Patients who are suffering from HbSS and HbSB0 (Types of Sickle Cell Disease) often requires the blood transfusion. Blood Transfusion is used for prevention of complications associated with sickle cell disease. 
  • Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant:– Old Blood Marrow Stem cells replace with good Blood marrow stem cells in this process. It is replaced with a healthy person’s marrow and it’s a very risky procedure.  
  • Eat a healthy Diet :– Take a healthy diet and drink 10 glasses of water every day.
  • Possible Future Treatments:- Healthcare providers and Researchers are constantly finding new treatments. 
  • Prevent infection :- Stay away from infection and consult a doctor at the right time.  

Kirti Aggarwal

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