Blood is a constantly circulating bodily fluid that provides the body with necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen, and takes part in waste removal. Blood is made up of two components: blood cells and plasma. The plasma is the liquid portion and it makes up about half the content of blood. Plasma help in the clotting of blood with the help of proteins, and it also helps to transport substances through the blood. The other half of the blood is consisted of blood cells. These blood cells include: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The red blood cells are the most common and numerous type of blood cells. They are responsible for delivering oxygen to the body tissues. They white blood cells are involved in defending the body against infectious diseases and foreign substances. Finally platelets are the smaller cells which help the blood clot. The blood is circulated throughout the body through blood vessels by the pumping action of the heart. When there is a problem in the functioning of the components of the blood this is known to be a blood disorder. Blood disorders can be inherited or can be due to environmental or conditional factors. An example of an inherited blood disorder is hemophilia, and a conditional blood disorder is sickle cell anemia.
Sickle cell anemia is a serious disorder that can lead to death. In the United States, it's estimated that sickle cell anemia affects 70,000–100,000 people, predominately African Americans. The disease occurs in about 1 out of every 500 African American births. Sickle cell anemia also affects Hispanic Americans. The disease occurs in more than 1 out of every 36,000 Hispanic American births. More than 2 million Americans have sickle cell trait. The condition occurs in about 1 in 12 African Americans.
Sickle cell anemia is the most common form of sickle cell disease (SCD). SCD is a serious disorder in which the body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells. Sickle-shaped means that the red blood cells are shaped like a crescent. Normal red blood cells are disc-shaped and look like doughnuts without holes in the center. They move easily through your blood vessels.
Red blood cells contain an iron-rich protein called hemoglobin. This protein carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Sickle cells contain abnormal hemoglobin called sickle hemoglobin or hemoglobin S. Sickle hemoglobin causes the cells to develop a sickle, or crescent, shape. Sickle cells are stiff and sticky. They tend to block blood flow in the blood vessels of the limbs and organs. Blocked blood flow can cause pain and organ damage. It can also raise the risk for infection.
Sickle cell anemia is one type of anemia. Anemia is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. This condition also can occur if your red blood cells don't contain enough hemoglobin. Red blood cells are made in the spongy marrow inside the larger bones of the body. Bone marrow is always making new red blood cells to replace old ones. Normal red blood cells live about 120 days in the bloodstream and then die. They carry oxygen and remove carbon dioxide (a waste product) from your body.
In sickle cell anemia, the abnormal sickle cells usually die after only about 10 to 20 days. The bone marrow can't make new red blood cells fast enough to replace the dying ones.
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited, lifelong disease. People who have the disease are born with it. They inherit two genes for sickle hemoglobin—one from each parent. People who inherit a sickle hemoglobin gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other parent have a condition called sickle cell trait. Sickle cell trait is different than sickle cell anemia. People who have sickle cell trait don't have the disease. Like people who have sickle cell anemia, people who have sickle cell trait can pass the sickle hemoglobin gene to their children.
In 1910, Sickle cell disease…