Facts about sickle cell anemia

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sickle cell• September is sickle cell anemia awareness month.
• It has been commemorated since 1983.
• Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder where one’s red blood cells are shaped like sickles, C-shaped.
• It affects people whose parents are both carriers.
• Approximately, 300,000 children are born each year with the condition globally.
• Of this, it is estimated that 50–80 per cent of them die before adulthood.
• The condition causes the red blood cells to be hard and sticky thereby limiting hence limiting oxygen supply in the body.

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• Due to this, their red blood cells live for only 20 days compared to those without the condition, which live for 120 days.
• People with condition usually drink a lot of water so as to enable the flow and viscosity of blood.
• They are required to visit the hospital regularly for checkups.
• Its symptoms include paleness o the skin and nails, regular anemia, yellow eyes (the sclera is yellow instead of white), one is prone to infections, unexplainable pain caused due to lack of oxygen tissue, delayed growth and development in children and swelling of hands and feet.
• Sickle cell anemia can lead to a stroke, organ damage (spleen, liver or kidney), poor vision, impotence, ulcers and hypertension among others caused due to the restriction of blood low in the body.
• It is not curable but there is medication that helps with the condition and to manage the pain.
• The life expectancy of some with the condition in Kenya is 45 years old.
• Sickle anemia patients are required to maintain a balanced diet.
• Each year, on June 19 the world commemorates the sickle cell anemia day in an effort to raise public awareness and understanding of the condition.
• It was adopted in December 2008 by the UN General Assembly following discussions on how to increase public knowledge of the disease.

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