All You Need To Know About Sickle Cell Anemia - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Anemia Treatment in Delhi

Sickle Cell Anemia

While globally considered a rare disease with a 1 in a million per birth occurrence, Sickle Cell Anemia has a high prevalence in the Indian populace. Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited genetic disorder in which the red blood cells of a person are malformed. In a healthy individual the red blood cells are rounded (Biconcave) while in those suffering from sickle cell anemia the red blood cells are distorted into a sickle shape, hence the name Sickle Cell Anemia. Call Manipal Hospitals if seeking sickle cell anemia treatment in Delhi. 

Causes that lead to Sickle Cell Anemia

This disorder is caused by a genetic mutation, which impacts the haemoglobin structure inside the red blood cells. Ideally, a single red blood cell carries 4 haemoglobin molecules, 2 alphas and 2 betas in the form; SCD affects the protein structure by deforming it into stiff rods. Haemoglobin is a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen across the body. The deformity in hemoglobin changes the shape of red blood cells from a disc shape to that of a sickle, an irregular shape that bursts, being unable to move and assist oxygen transport. 

While the ordinary life of a red blood cell is 90 to 120 days, the sickle cells last only 10 to 20 days, creating a shortage of red blood cells in the body. This shortage of cells leads to an oxygen shortage, causing persistent tiredness and sudden pain attacks. 

India has the burden of 10,000 new cases of Sickle Cell Anemia every year. While earlier, the impacted people died before reaching adulthood. Medical science advancements and early detection of Sickle Cell Anemia help more than 50% of affected patients live in their 50s.

Sickle Cell Anemia happens when both the parents of a person have the Sickle Cell Anemia gene—inheriting a gene from a single parent causes a Single Cell Trait, which usually does not show any disease symptoms. Avoiding marriages between two mutated cell carriers and early detection of defects in utero and terminating the pregnancy if the fetus is affected are the only ways to prevent the birth of people with Sickle Cell Anemia. Pedigree analysis is useful for such a characterization.

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia appear from 5 to 6 months of age. While the symptoms vary for every person, some common symptoms are:

  • TirednessSickle Cell Anemia causes a shortage of red blood cells. As a result, the body can't get enough oxygen causing persistent tiredness.

  • Pain AttacksThe sickle shape of infected blood cells causes blockages in the blood flow—this blockage results in acute pain that may last for hours and days and may result in bone and joint damage.

  • SwellingThe blockage of blood flow also results in swelling of hands and feet.

  • Infections: Sickle Cell Anemia may damage the spleen, an organ that filters the blood cells and fights infections. A damaged spleen results in being prone to diseases like pneumonia.

  • Delayed DevelopmentThe shortage of red blood cells slows growth from the infant stage. 

  • Eyesight Issues: When the sickle cells plug the blood vessels, they damage the retina leading to acute vision problems.

How is Sickle Cell Anemia diagnosed?

The blood sample diagnosis

The primary means of identifying sickle cell anaemia is through the study of the physical pathology of the red blood cells of a person. If the cells appear to be sickle-shaped or abnormal in structure compared to normal red blood structure the person may be referred to undergo intensive diagnostic screening for SCD.

Sickle Cell Anemia uses high-performance liquid chromatography; a procedure which helps examine the types of Haemoglobin in the red blood cells. At Manipal Hospitals, we recommend screening for parents and newborn babies to identify the condition at an early stage for better management of the condition and prolonging the patient’s quality of life.

Preventive diagnosis of an expecting mother along with a screening of couples planning their family can provide directions to the doctors and parents and reduce the cases of Sickle Cell Anemia.

Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment 

Allogeneic Bone Marrow transplantation is the only cure for Sickle Cell Anemia, which uses healthy blood stem cells of a donor to replace bone marrow in an infected person. The donation may come from a family member or any other compatible donor too. Radiation therapy helps destroy diseased cells, while the transplanted bone marrow helps generate new healthy cells. After the procedure, the body takes a few weeks to recover and produce new blood cells. If you are looking for the best doctors for sickle cell anemia treatment in Delhi then book an appointment with us now.

Blood transfusions, antibiotics, and medications also help to manage acute complications of Sickle Cell Anemia. These processes should be monitored only by Sickle Cell Specialists and Sickle Cell Doctors.

Manipal Hospitals has the best bone marrow transplant department in Dwarka, equipped with advanced medical technologies for transplant processes. The bone marrow transplant or BMT department doctors at Manipal Hospitals are the best in India in diagnosing, and treating blood disorders like sickle cell anaemia and helping patients get bone marrow transplantation or blood transfusion to manage the acute complexities of Sickle Cell Anemia.

Manipal Hospitals has highly experienced BMT specialists in Delhi who in collaboration with the transplantation team help patients find donor matches within the family and also outside; with the help of the national donor registry. Patients can be matched with blood relatives (parents, siblings or children) or assisted with half-matched donors (patient and donor couples who are mutually incompatible can cross-exchange their compatible donors) registered under the national registry for donors and patients. 

Manipal Hospitals is India's leading medical facility for treating and managing Sickle Cell Anemia. Consult our knowledgeable Hematologist in Delhi and find a treatment that works for you and your loved ones. Bookmark our blog page to read the latest blogs on trending topics related to health or subscribe to our podcast for your weekly dose of medical information by renowned doctors.


Dr. Divya Bansal

Consultant - Clinical Hematology And BMT

Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, Delhi
 

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