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Sickle Cell Disease

An explanation into what Sickle Cell disease is, the human organ system it affects, and everything about it.

Belani W

on 11 May 2014

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Transcript of Sickle Cell Disease

Treatment and Prevention
In terms of treatment there are a couple different things you can do. Early diagnosis and prevention of problems in the long run is very important in sickle cell disease treatment. The goals of treatment are to prevent organ damage including strokes, prevent infection, and treat symptoms. Treatment may include pain medications, drinking plenty of water, blood transfusions, vaccinations and antibiotics, in taking folic acid, bone marrow transplant, and regular eye exams.
The Circulatory System
Who Does it Affect?
Sickle cell disease affects people of many different nationalities, but mainly affects people of African decent, and Hispanics of Caribbean Ancestry. It also affects people from South and Central America, the Caribbean Islands, Mediterranean countries (such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy), Saudi Arabia, and India.

Sickle cell disease is a non-contagious disease and is only inheritable directly through your parents. Not all inheritors get the actual form of the disease, they may get a sickle cell trait instead. A person with the sickle cell trait doesn't have sickle cell disease, and never will. This trait will only affect the trait carrier's children, meaning that those children will have the same chance of getting the disease or only the trait, just as the trait carrier had.
How it Works
The circulatory system delivers nutrients and oxygen throughout the body and is made up of the heart and blood vessels including arteries, veins, and capillaries that run throughout the whole body.

The heart is the most important organ in this system. There are two types of blood that pump in and out of the heart, oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-poor blood. The aorta (the body's main artery) is what the heart pumps the oxygen-rich blood into, and then into two smaller arteries that branch off at the beginning of the aorta and divide into a network of even smaller arteries that provide oxygen and other nutrients to the muscles of the heart, and the rest of the body.

The pulmonary artery (the body's other main artery) carries the oxygen-poor blood to the lungs where it picks up more oxygen to become oxygen-rich blood again. This newly revived oxygen-rich blood then gets pumped back through the heart, into the aorta, and the cycle of circulation repeats itself again.
Why it's Important to the Human Body
The circulatory system is important to the body for many reasons, and can hardly be understated. Without it the body would stop many of it's primary functions and would eventually stop the whole body itself from functioning at all. The circulatory system also helps fight against infections, regulates the body's temperature, and ensures that all parts of the body get enough oxygen and nutrients. Another way the circulatory system is important to the body is that it has many different 'pathways' (vessels and capillaries) that allow disease-fighting white blood cells to sneak up on foreign invaders like viruses and unwanted bacteria, and get rid of them. Without the circulatory system, these white blood cells would be slowed down, which would allow the virus or bacteria to grow and strengthen.
Sickle Cell Disease
Belani .W.
The circulatory system is mainly made up of red and white blood cells. Red blood cells make up about 45% of the blood and look similar to the shape of a doughnut. They transport oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body while getting rid of all other waste such as carbon dioxide. White blood cells make up about 2% of the blood but have an extremely important job. They help defend the body of infections or diseases by fighting off unwanted bacteria and germs.

The circulatory system is also made up of different types of tissues. The major tissues are Epithelial tissue, Muscle tissue, Nervous tissue, and Connective tissue. Epithelial tissue covers all the insides of the entire body. Muscle tissue allows our whole body to move. Nervous tissue allows the brain to send signals and messages to different parts of the body in order for them to do certain things. Connective tissue is like the "glue" that holds the whole body together because it connects and surrounds the other tissues and organs of the body.

The circulatory system is made up of a few but crucially important organs, the heart and the blood vessels. The heart pumps the body's blood throughout the whole body, and is protected by the rib cage. The blood vessels are what the blood pumped by the heart is carried through to the rest of the body.
What is Sickle Cell Disease?
The Circulatory System. May 5, 2014.

PubMed Health. May 6, 2014.

Kids Health. May 6, 2014.

University of Utah: Health Care. May 6, 2014.

Boone Heart Institute. May 6, 2014.

wiseGEEK. May 6, 2014.

The William E. Proudford Sickle Cell Fund Inc. May 6, 2014

Genetics Home References. May 6, 2014.

Creation Studies Institute. May 6, 2014.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Johns Hopkins Medicine: Health Library















There are many visible and non-visible symptoms of sickle cell disease.

Severe anemia can make it harder for the body to to carry oxygen to the tissues, possibly causing the person to be pale, dizzy, short of breath, and tired. Healing and normal growth and development may be delayed because of chronic anemia. The most common sign of this is when your hands and feet get very cold and don't regulate with the temperature of the rest of your body.

A Pain Crisis or a Sickle Crisis;
This is pain that can occur anywhere, but most often occurs in the chest, arms, and legs. It can also cause painful swelling of the fingers and toes.

Acute Chest Syndrome;
This happens when there is sickling in the chest, and can be life threatening. It often occurs suddenly, when the body is under stress from infection, fever, or dehydration. It's similar to pneumonia and includes fever, pain, and a violent cough.

This is a sudden and severe complication of people who have sickle cell disease. Sickle cells block the major blood vessels that go into the brain, which stops the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This can result in severe nerve damage to the brain.

Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mouth;
This is a very common sign of sickle cell disease. Bilirubin (which causes the yellow color) is a pigment from the sickle cells that collects in the system causing Jaundice.

Other visible symptoms include increased infections, leg ulcers, bone damage, early gallstones, kidney damage, and eye damage.

There are other internal symptoms of Sickle Cell disease such as blood clots,
multiple organ failure,
and damage to vessels and capillaries in the circulatory system.
Sickle Cell disease is an inherited red blood cell disorder. It's the most common genetically inherited disease in the U.S. and affects tens of thousands of people. Sickle cell disease is when normal red blood cells sickle, meaning that they become hard, sticky, and shaped like sickles that are used to cut wheat (a sharp crescent shape). When these hard and pointed sickled cells pass through small vessels and capillaries, they clog the blood flow and break apart. This causes
, damage to the vessels and capillaries, as well as a low blood count or anemia.
What Organs and Cells Does it Affect?
Sickle cell disease affects any and all major joints. The heart, kidneys, liver, eyes, gallbladder, bones, and joints can all be damaged by the irregular function of the sickle cells, and their inability to flow properly through small blood vessels. All organs of the body are generally affected by sickle cell disease, because without proper blood flow throughout the body, the whole body itself functions at a slower rate.

Most of the body's red blood cells are affected by sickle cell disease:

Normal red blood cells are similar to the shape of doughnuts, and flow easily through small blood vessels and capillaries to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to the rest of the body (fig. 1)

Sickled red blood cells become hard, sticky, and shaped like sickles that are used to cut wheat (a sharp crescent shape). (fig. 2)

When these hard and pointed sickled cells pass through small vessels and capillaries, they clog the blood flow and break apart. This causes
, damage to the vessels and capillaries, as well as a low blood count or anemia. (fig. 3)
How Does it Affect a Healthy Circulatory System?
In terms of prevention, there is nothing you can do to prevent the on set of Sickle cell disease because it's a disease inherited from your parents. However there are steps you can take to help treat and manage it, because as of now there is still no cure.
In a healthy circulatory system, Sickle cell disease affects the whole system. Sickle cell disease is when normal red blood cells sickle, meaning that they become hard, sticky, and have pointed edges. When these sickled cells pass through small vessels and capillaries in the circulatory system, they clog the blood flow and often break themselves apart. This causes
, damage to the vessels and capillaries, as well as a low blood count, and many other complications such as organ failure and stroke.

Although prevention isn't possible yet, and there still isn't a cure for sickle cell disease, there are many treatment options available to help manage the chronic pain caused by this disease.
Progress of Research on Sickle Cell Disease
Research into stopping Sickle Cell disease has been inconclusive as of yet. However, research into the treatment of Sickle Cell disease has been greatly improved over the past few years. Hydroxyurea is a newly found drug used to help patients with the chronic pain Sickle Cell disease causes. The daily use of hydroxyurea has shown to have significantly reduced chronic pain, and has reduced most sickle cell patient's hospital visits by 50%.
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