Any disease that affects children is painful and difficult for parents to cope with. Just the way parents pass on habits, features, nature and even body language to their babies; they can pass on diseases too. It is something that most of us even dread to think of.
Sickle cell anemia is one such blood inherited disease. Any problem can be made to seem small the moment you know about it well. It gives you strength to fight it tough and arrest it at the earliest. So here, we will help you understand sickle cell anemia better.
What Is Sickle Cell Anemia?
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder. Our body consists of three types of blood cells – White blood cells, Red blood cells and Platelets.
- Red blood cells are the ones responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues of the body via blood flow. Normally, these cells are round in shape like letter ‘O’, smooth and flexible too.
- But in case of sickle cell disease in children, the body is full of red blood cells whi
- One cannot catch this disease like common cold or flu.
- This disease is something that children are born with as inheritance.
- It can only be inherited when both the parents pass on their sickle cell gene to the child.
[ Read: Anemia In Children ]
This causes a series of serious problems in the body and the series starts from:
- Every time we breathe, the red blood cells carry oxygen around the body.
- When a child suffers from sickle cell anemia, his red blood cells are abnormally shaped.
- These abnormally-shaped red blood cells don’t move around freely and get stuck.
- Our bodies know that sickle cells are not good and hence start destroying them in order to protect the body.
- When a person lacks sufficient red blood cells in the body, this condition is known as anemia.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sickle Cell Anemia In Children:
Here are few signs and symptoms that might help you identify if your child suffers from sickle cell anemia:
- Pain in the chest
- Pain in the stomach
- Pain in the bones
This pain is largely caused when the sickle cells get stuck or block the blood vessels. This condition where the child suffers from pain is known as sickle cell crisis. It can last anything between minutes, hours to days.
[ Read: Blood Infections In Children ]
Other Signs And Symptoms Include:
Children with sickle cell anemia may also show some other symptoms as well. Check here:
- If your child gets too tired too soon.
- If your child is prone to getting infections as compared to other kids.
- If your child’s white part of the eyes becomes yellowish in color.
- If your child uses the washroom too often.
- If your 2 or less than 2 year of child’s feet and hands swell and hurt.
[ Read: Iron Rich Food For Kids ]
If you notice your child showing the above-mentioned symptoms and signs, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor will:
- Run a few special types of blood tests.
- This test will detect the type of hemoglobin in your child’s red blood cells
- The types of hemoglobin will help the doctor identify the condition.
- There are two types of hemoglobin – A and S.
- If your child suffers from sickle cell disease, his red blood cells will show more of hemoglobin S.
If your child too is diagnosed with sickle cell anemia, the following are ways he can be treated:
1. Prescribed Medication:
Firstly, the doctor might prescribe penicillin to fight and prevent infections.
- Doctor will also prescribe a special vitamin supplement with folic acid which helps form new Red blood cells in the body.
- The above-mentioned treatments are actually prescribed for the kid to keep him from getting sick.
A sickle cell-anemic child will have to frequent the hospital when the infection spreads too much too far.
- He might also visit the hospital if the pain gets worse.
- Antibiotics and IV fluids can be used to treat the problem at the hospital.
3. Blood Transfusion:
Blood transfusion is a way of putting in healthy red blood cells in your child’s body.
- It raises the amount of the normal hemoglobin in your child’s blood.
- It also helps prevent the chances of sickle cell crisis in children.
4. Bone Marrow Transplant:
If a donor agrees, you can also get a bone marrow transplant in your child’s body.
- Here all the sickle cells are replaced with healthy red blood cells from a donor’s body.
- But for this treatment to work, the bone marrow must be a real close match.
- Generally, brothers, sisters or someone close in the family become donors.
If your child too suffers from this disease, make sure that he takes penicillin every day. This is to prevent infections and help him lead a healthy life. Make sure your child adopts healthy eating and good living style.
We know the grief that any disease causes is unfathomable. But we hope we helped you understand sickle cell anemia in children better. Please leave your comments below for more queries.
Reference : 1
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