Every year on June 19, the world observes World Sickle Cell Day in an effort to raise awareness of the condition and improve understanding of the difficulties that patients and their families encounter. Patients suffering from sickle cell disease have red blood cells that are sickle-shaped, which have the potential to clump together, restricting blood flow and preventing oxygen from reaching all areas of the body. It is a genetic condition that affects the blood.
How Did It Come About?
On the 22nd of December in 2008, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution that acknowledged sickle cell disease as a concern that affects the public’s health. In an effort to educate people on a more local and global scale about sickle cell disorder, the United Nations has made the 19th of June an annual observance known as “World Sickle Cell Awareness Day”.
Why is World Sickle Cell Day Held?
Since 2008, World Sickle Cell Day has been observed yearly in an effort to assist in increasing public education and raising awareness about the condition as well as the hardships that patients and families go through on a daily basis. This day also serves to bring awareness to the many treatment options, including medical and surgical procedures, that are available to patients who are afflicted with sickle cell disease.
Key Things to Know About Sickle Cell Disease
- People who suffer from sickle cell disease need to see their doctor at regular intervals.
- It is essential to carry out the therapy and take the medicine exactly as directed by the doctor.
- It is important that individuals take preventative measures against illnesses, including regularly washing their hands.
- It is essential to make healthy choices and develop healthy routines, such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, and drinking enough water.
According to the CDC, people who have this disease are more likely to develop discomfort, anemia, infection, and other major health issues that may need the assistance of a professional healthcare practitioner.
“When health problems, such as serious pain (also known as pain crises), cannot be managed at home or a visit to a healthcare provider is not possible, children and adults with SCD (Sickle cell disease) often require care in hospital emergency departments (ED) or clinics for treatment. In fact, the Sickle Cell Data Collection (SCDC) program (CDC’s current SCD monitoring project) found that, in California, people with SCD seek care in the ED an average of three times a year from their late teens to their late 50s,” the CDC website says.
The Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical facility in the United States, asserts that there is currently no cure for the condition; nevertheless, therapies may alleviate discomfort and assist in preventing complications.
- In most cases, the first symptoms of sickle cell anemia don’t show up until the patient is around five months old. However, these symptoms may differ from person to person and can shift over time.
- Patients who have sickle cell disorder often suffer from anemia due to the rapid death of their red blood cells, which results in a deficiency of healthy cells in their bodies.
- Without sufficient red blood cells, the body doesn’t get the amount of oxygen it needs, which results in fatigue.
- Sickle cell anemia is characterized by recurrent bouts of discomfort, the severity of which might vary from patient to patient. It might last anywhere from a few hours to many weeks at a time.
- It is typical to have swelling in the hands and feet as well as recurrent infections.
- Children who are lacking in healthy red blood cells may have decreased development as a result.
Unknown fever, periods of extreme pain such as discomfort in the belly or chest, bone or joint swells, nail beds or pale skin, whites of the eyes, or yellow tint to the skin are all signs that a person may have an illness that requires immediate medical attention.
Related Artilce: World Blood Donor Day
How Is It Diagnosed?
Sickle cell disease is detected in newborns in the United States via a screening technique called newborn screening. This screening happens twice in Texas; the first time is just after the baby is born, and the second time is when the baby is one week old. The results of these tests are sent straight to the doctor chosen by the parents of the child, along with a suggestion that the kid be sent to a specialist clinic such as the Texas Children’s Sickle Cell Center. Because of this screening, we are able to detect and locate children who have sickle cell disease before the illness’s problems manifest themselves.
The diagnosis of sickle cell disease in a kid may be a frightening experience for the parents; however, the condition can be treated and complications can be avoided, allowing most people to survive into their 40s and 50s. This starts with administering penicillin immediately after delivery in an effort to protect the newborn from potentially fatal illnesses. It is essential for these children to be evaluated at a facility that is dedicated to the treatment of sickle cell disease. At such a facility, the parents will be provided with information regarding the disease and its complications, as well as screening for the complications and disease-modifying treatments, such as hydroxyurea or chronic transfusions.
Types of Sickle Cell Disease
HbSc: This happens when one parent has the gene for sickle cell anemia and the other parent carries the gene for defective hemoglobin.
HbSS: When a kid gets the sickle cell disorder gene from both of their parents, they develop a severe form of sickle cell illness.
Hbs Beta-Thalassemia: This form of sickle cell disorder occurs when the gene for sickle cells is handed down from one parent, while the gene for beta-thalassemia is carried down from the other.
Sickle Cell Disease: Facts and Figures
- There are around 5 % of people in the world who have the trait genes for hemoglobinopathies, the most common of which is sickle-cell disease.
- More than 300,000 infants with severe hemoglobin abnormalities are born every year in the United States.
- African Americans are more likely to be affected by it (1 out of every 365 African American births)
- Problems in breathing are quite prevalent in children who suffer from sickle cell disease.
- In the United States, more than 95% of newborns diagnosed with SCD will survive to become adults.
SDC has serious repercussions for the patient’s life on all different levels, and it affects people of all different races. More than one hundred million individuals in different parts of the globe are afflicted with SDC. These people must deal with the physiological, psychological, and social repercussions of their condition, which also affect their families. The patients’ health and quality of life are severely impacted, and they will need consistent and high-quality medical treatment if they are to have any chance of leading a proper life. The World Sickle Cell Day raises awareness that it is a worldwide problem that poses a significant threat to public health, but fortunately, in the very recent past, new treatments have been accessible that have the potential to improve patients’ quality of life.