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Sickle-Cell Anemia

Uploaded by FirePits on Oct 20, 2001

Sickle-Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects millions of people around the world. It is particularly common among people whose ancestors come from sub-Sahara Africa and Spanish speaking regions. Approximately 2 million Americans carry the sickle cell trait.

Sickle-Cell Anemia is caused by an error in the gene that tells the body how to make hemoglobin. The defective gene tells the body to make the abnormal hemoglobin that results in deformed red blood cells. The presence of two sickle-cell genes is necessary for a child to have the disease. Which means there is about a 25% chance for a child to have the disease if both of his parents are carriers. A few of the symptoms caused by sickle-cell anemia include stroke, infections, bone damage, lung blockage, eye damage, and delayed growth.

Although sickle-cell anemia cannot be prevented, it is important that the disease is detected early so that proper treatment can be started at an early age. Sickle-cell can also be detected by the parents before the baby is born, by sampling the amniotic fluid or tissue taken from the placenta doctors can determine whether the fetus has the disease or is a carrier of the trait.

Without a cure for the disease, there is much doctors can still do to help sickle-cell patients, and treatment is constantly being improved. Basic treatment relies heavily upon pain killers and oral or intravenous fluids to reduce pain. Other treatments include blood transfusion to reduce the amount of infected red blood cells, and increase the concentration of healthy red blood cells. Doctors believe gene therapy to be the future of sickle-cell treatment. This is where a patient can go see a gene therapist and can actually stop the reproduction of infected red blood cells in their body.

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Uploaded by:   FirePits

Date:   10/20/2001

Category:   Biology

Length:   1 pages (296 words)

Views:   6943

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