World Sickle Cell Day 2021: Here's How Early Diagnosis Can Help Manage Symptoms Of Sickle Cell Disease
World Sickle Cell Day is observed on 19 June every year to create awareness about this blood disorder.
World Sickle Cell Day: In this disease the red blood cells are C-shaped
- Fatigue and breathlessness are common symptoms of sickle cell anaemia
- Sickle Cell Anaemia can cause of loss of red blood cells
- Extreme cases may also face an outbreak of jaundice
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited disorder of Haemoglobin, it is a molecule which plays vital role in carrying oxygen to every tissue in our body .This disease has become a global concern and India bears the second highest burden of this disease following the sub-Sahara African region. SCD is inherited as Autosomal codominant condition and comprises spectrum of severity from asymptomatic carrier status to severe full blown anaemia depending on the type of inheritance, basically in SCD the structure of haemoglobin is altered producing a variant named as HbS which inturn has the propensity to alter the shape of our RBCs from oval to sickle shape(hence the NAME) under certain scenarios leading to formation of small clots and clogging of the blood vessel which clinically manifests in affected person as a myriad of symptoms and signs,
Fever, dehydration, simple infections etc. predispose patients to acute illness episodes ranging from severe bone pains to acute stroke episodes some of these can be life threatening too.
Not alone the above patients are at the risk of such repeated events and also chronic complications involving their heart, lung, kidneys, hence it is mandatory for them to be under vigilant medical care and supervision.
Management of already affected individuals involves two approaches one is supportive and symptomatic care of acute illness episodes and second but most importantly the preventive approach where in patients are on simple robust vigillant medical care to prevent repitition of further acute illness or long term complications so that the individual can enjoy highest quality of life with near normalcy.
How to prevent this disorder?
1. As mentioned earlier the occurrence is high in specific regions and couples can be offered simple screening tests to rule out carrier status so that they can diligently plan their family.
2. Prenatal genetic testing especially those with history of disorder in family, this disorder can be detected as early as 10 weeks of baby in the womb.
3. Newborn screening tests are widely available however these are not yet mandatory ,but definitely beneficial if detected at this stage, as it provides a scope to educate the parents about the course of the disorder and also simple preventive measures like good hydration during illness, early signs to pick up etc., which will in turn pave a way for healthier life of the child.
In conclusion small steps can become giant leaps, so on this World sickle cell disease day (19th June) let's take a pledge to be aware and create awareness about SCD.
(Dr Prerana Nesargi, MBBS, MD, DM, Associate consultant paediatric oncology and haematology at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital)
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