Day 252 of 365

Sickle Cell myths and Facts

Myth: People with the Sickle Cell Disease are immune to malaria.
While scientists believe that Sickle Cell Disease is an evolutionary response to malaria, people with Sickle Cell Disease do not have the benefit of this evolutionary mutation. Many doctors have been known to tell patients with Sickle Cell Disease that they are immune to malaria and do not require anti-malarial protection.
This is not true and puts patients at a greater risk. However, there is some evidence to suggest that people who carry the sickle cell trait, but did not inherit the gene from both parents, are less likely to have severe forms of malaria and may have higher childhood survival rates.

Day 253 of 365

The sickle cell Pain Crisis
Their is pain is experienced when the sickle cell breaks small blood cell. The pain and the frequency of it occurrence varies from one person to another. For some the pain is severe while for others it mild. Some may experience frequent and long lasting pain crisis while for others it’s occasional. Exposure to intense pain for longer periods especially in adults and children may lead to damaged joints and ulcers. Vision is also damaged when the small blood vessels in the retina (part of the eye responsible for visual image) are damaged
Sometimes the sickle cells get stuck on the spleen leading to its damage. Part of the functions of a spleen is to filter blood which also strengthens immunity. If the spleen is clogged it is not able to filter blood off its impurities.

Day 254 of 365

Sickle cell ANAEMIA

Anaemia is a condition in which an individual has inadequate red blood cells to carry oxygen in the tissues. The life span of a health red blood cell is approximately 115-120days but sickle cells die after about 10-20days from the day they were manufactured leaving the body with inadequate cells to circulate blood and supply oxygen. Inefficient exchanged of breathing gases and supply of oxygen leads to fatigue among other dysfunctions.

Day 255 of 365

Sickle cell and body swelling explained

Some adolescents and adults with sickle cell anemia also have chronic pain, which can result from bone and joint damage, ulcers, and other causes. Swelling of hands and feet. The swelling is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking blood flow to the hands and feet.When the sickled cells get stuck in the blood vessels and limit blood supply the affected body parts (which blood and oxygen does not reach) tend to swell.

Day 256 of 365

When to see a doctor
With sickle cell anemia you know you need to see a doctor if and when you experience the following :
• Unexplained episodes of severe pain, such as pain in the abdomen, chest, bones or joints.
• Swelling in the hands or feet.
• Abdominal swelling, especially if the area is tender to the touch.
• Fever. People with sickle cell anemia have an increased risk of infection, and fever can be the first sign of an infection.
• Pale skin or nail beds.
• Yellow tint to the skin or whites of the eyes.
• Signs or symptoms of stroke. If you notice one-sided paralysis or weakness in the face, arms or legs; confusion; trouble walking or talking; sudden vision problems or unexplained numbness; or a headache.

Day 257 of 365

Supporting Persons with SCD

SCD Patients Support
1. Support group systems that allow for holistic support to ensure no one takes his or her journey alone.
2. Mental health – with present lack of cure, many adults live in fears and other psychological complications, hence the need for support for patients, caregivers, family members of people living with sickle cell.
3. Quality care –This means having people who love and care around them, right support and access to medical care
4. Nutrition –fruits,vegetables, whole grains, legumes will provide greater proportion of essential to prevent deficiency. Good nutrition can help safeguard healthy growth in children with sickle cell disease and may reduce the risk of complications in both children and adults.
5. Development of better red blood cell replacement therapy to improve transfusions.
6. Education – helping SCD patients to better understand the journey of living with sickle cell diagnosis, treatment and medical support available.
7. Online platforms that provide free access to comprehensive support and a robust knowledge network.
8. Access to Insurance cover – Sickle cell disease is a lifelong disorder, adequate insurance cover is needed to access fast and good medical care services.

Day 258 of 365

Who is a sickle cell caregiver?

“Caregiver” is a general term referring to anyone who provides care for a person who needs extra help. This could mean a family caregiver, a respite caregiver, a home caregiver, or a primary caregiver, to name but a few. In the context of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), this typically refers to a member of a person’s social network that perform care-related activities in the home and personal care, typically related to one’s everyday life. For most persons living with SCD the caregivers are either family (Parents, siblings or spouse) or friends.

Published by Stephen Ogweno

a global health practitioner, NCD advocate and mHealth Innovator

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