Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is one of many similar types of syndromes that attack hemoglobin, the element in red blood cells responsible for conveying oxygen to cells across the body. Patients with this sickness have uncharacteristic hemoglobin molecules referred to as hemoglobin S. These atypical cells have the ability to deform ordinary red blood cells into a sickle shape. Some of the most common signs of the disease are normally manifested early in a child’s life. The most common features of this disease include reduced number of red blood cells, a condition called anemia, recurring infections, and sporadic bouts of pain. The extent of symptoms differs depending on the individual affected (Brown 13). Some patients exhibit mild symptoms, whereas others are regularly admitted having critical complications.
Most of these symptoms in sickle cell disease can be traced to the deformation of red blood cells. In the process of red blood cell mutation, they disintegrate impulsively and this contributes to anemia. Anemia is responsible for causing shortness in breath, exhaustion, and stunted growth and development in infants. The speedy disintegration of red blood cells can lead to yellow skin and eyes, typical characteristics of jaundice (Vescia, Silverstein, and Nunn 21). Excruciating episodes can happen when deformed red blood cells, solid and inflexible, become lodged in the blood vessels. These painful sessions eat away at organs and contribute to organ damage, particularly in the spleen, kidneys, lungs, and brain. One of the complicated strains of sickle cell triggers high blood pressure in the patient supply and this affects the functioning of the lungs. Pulmonary failure affects over a third of patients having sickle cell disease and is normally followed by heart failure (Vescia et al., 22).
Fundamentals of the Disease
Sickle cell disease is a long-term ailment. The intensity of the disease exhibits variances depending on the geographical region and lifestyles. In high-consumption states such as the United States, patients that have been diagnosed with sickle cell disease live approximately 40 to 70 years. However, in the last five years, the developments in diagnosis and treatment of the condition have increased the life of expectancy. Cells in the organs require a constant supply of oxygen to function effectively (Brown 23). In general, hemoglobin in red blood cells consumes oxygen from the lungs and supplies it to different tissues of the body.
Ordinary red blood cells containing normal hemoglobin assume a disc shape. This form permits the cells to be supple and allows them to move across arteries and capillaries to deliver oxygen. Deformed hemoglobin cells are very different from ordinary normal hemoglobin. The disease transforms stiff rods from the red cells into stiff crescent shapes. Sickle-shaped cells are inflexible and clog up in the smaller vessel walls. This obstruction creates a sluggish blood flow or even a complete stop in the blood flow. When this occurs, oxygen is cannot be delivered to the tissues.
Cures and Treatment
The treatment and care for patient with sickle cell disease not only deals with the condition, it also addressed the pain since this is a major symptom. The milder forms of pain can be dealt by over-the-counter drugs for instance Tylenol, aspirin and naproxen. These drugs are useful in reducing inflammation (Brown 56). Other pain relievers can be applied to the skin through creams or lotions. If these drugs fail to alleviate the pain, the patient has the option of seeking the prescription of a doctor for stronger medication. Options include antidepressants, prescription NSAIDs, and a short prescription of painkillers. Patient-controlled analgesia is a recent alterative of pain control. In this option, the patient can self-administer his or her own dose of pain medicine using a computerized device. This device is connected to the patient intravenously (O’Donohue, and Lauren 17). However, it is important to understand that drugs and other forms of medication can be highly addictive.
Another alternative is psychological therapy. Patient with sickle cell disease can join support groups comprised of other people with the same disease. In such support groups, the members have been through the same experiences and their can offer comfort and a chance to hear each other out. Closely related to support groups are complementary therapies. This set of therapies is effective as they combine emotional and physical solutions. Examples include acupuncture, massage, yoga, and meditation.
Apart from treatment, it is also
important to ensure that the patient adopts a healthy lifestyle as well as
changes in diet and physical activity. Patients having sickle cell disease need
to adopt a different approach concerning their current physical condition. After
being diagnosed with the disease, people need to have a positive attitude
concerning their future. They can reduce the amount of stress in their work and
home settings as this only aggravates the sickness. Patient with sickle cell
should also avoid all forms of depressant, narcotics, and drugs including
cigarettes and alcohol. The negative effects of sickle cell can also be reduced
by a physical exercise regiment. Adopting an exercise plan can reduce the
chronic pain, improve the blood flow, and assist the medication provided by the
Top of Form
Top of Form
Top of Form
Brown, Ronald T. Comprehensive Handbook of Childhood Cancer and Sickle Cell Disease: A Biopsychosocial Approach. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006. Print.
O’Donohue, William T, and Lauren W. Tolle. Behavioral Approaches to Chronic Disease in Adolescence: A Guide to Integrative Care. Dordrecht: Springer, 2009. Print.
Vescia, Monique, Alvin Silverstein, Virginia B. Silverstein, and Laura S. Nunn. What You Can Do About Sickle Cell Disease. 2016. Print.
Bottom of Form
Bottom of Form
Bottom of Form