What does it mean to be anemic?
Anemia is diagnosed when blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. There are many different kinds of anemia: iron deficiency anemia, sideroblastic anemia, and aplastic anemia…just to name a few.
Anemia is the most common blood condition in the United States. While anemia is very common with experts reporting more than 3 million cases in the US per year, sickle cell anemia is considered rare with less than 200,000 cases in the US each year.
Sickle cell anemia is a kind of inherited anemia related to sickle cell disease.
Why are healthy red blood cells important?
Sickle cell anemia is diagnosed when misshaped red blood cells begin to break down and die, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells in the body. Without adequate levels of healthy red blood cells, oxygen cannot be properly distributed throughout the body.
Healthy red blood cells are round and flexible so that they can easily move through blood vessels. When a person has sickle cell anemia, their red blood cells become rigid and irregularly shaped which can cause them to get stuck in small blood vessels. This can cause blood and the oxygen it carries to parts of the body to become slowed or even completely blocked.
What are the symptoms of sickle cell anemia?
Common symptoms of sickle cell anemia include frequent infections, periodic pain, swelling of the hands and feet, vision problems, or even delayed growth.
What are the treatment options for sickle cell anemia?
There is currently no cure for sickle cell anemia. However, there are treatment options to improve the quality of life of those suffering from the disease.
There are also innovations in medicine that are currently being tested through clinical trials for sickle cell anemia treatment.