Sickle cell is a disorder of the haemoglobin in the red blood cells. Haemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that is responsible for the colour of the cell and for carrying oxygen around the body.
People with sickle cell disorder are born with the condition, it is not contagious. It can only be inherited from both parents each having passed on the gene for sickle cell. The main symptoms of sickle cell disorder are anaemia and episodes of severe pain. The pain occurs when the cells change shape after oxygen has been released. The red blood cells then stick together, causing blockages in the small blood vessels. These painful episodes are referred to as Sickle Cell crisis. They are treated with strong painkillers such as morphine to control the pain.
Sickle Cell Trait is when you are born with sickle cell trait. It is inherited when only one of your parents has passed on the sickle gene and will never develop in to sickle cell disorder. You do not have symptoms from sickle cell trait, so it is a good idea to have a blood test to see if you have sickle cell trait. Most people who have sickle cell trait are healthy. However, anaesthetics can cause problems. If you have sickle cell trait, always notify your dentist and doctor before treatment commences to be on the safe side.
SCD mainly affects people of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean and Asian origin. If you want to know about your sickle cell status, you can ask your doctor for a blood test.
Check out this link (https://www.sicklecellsociety.org/about-sickle-cell/) to learn more about Sickle Cell.
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