Sickle Cell PT II

Saturday, June 20, 2009
As I read through my post on Sickle Cell, I realized that it didn't really fulfill the intent of the Summer Knowledge Project...namely, to give the casual reader information about the disease. I gave some information on how it works genetically, but really, I need to follow up on it. Because of that, I submit to you Sickle Cell PT II:

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the following constitute the basic symptoms of Sickle Cell:
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Coldness in the hands and feet
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain
Of which Fatigue is the most common. Sickle Cell Anemia causes fatigue because of a lack of red blood cells, according to the Mayo Clinic. As sickle cells die after only about a tenth of the normal red blood cell lifespan, the body is left without an ample amount of blood in the circulatory system. These symptoms may show up as early as the 4th month of life in newborns.

The final question I hadn't addressed is lifespan, and I didn't address it because that is an unfortunately vague issue within Sickle Cell Anemia, as far as my research has shown. I remember a few years ago that a University of Missouri football player died during practice from complications with Sickle Cell disease. In fact, there have been a number of fatalities due to Sickle Cell in sports. However, according to Dr. Spock, there's is a great chance of living well into adulthood for those with the trait.

I'm glad I went back to research this again, because despite the problems associated with this issue, Sickle Cell has a lot of hope to offer us who have loved-ones suffering from other Autosomal Recessive Diseases.