My aunt is RITA she is a grandmother, a retired nurse, a wife, she had seven children but has lost four to sickle cell. All three are grownups Barbara, Mark and the twin.
To be born with sickle cell disease a child has to inherit a copy of sickle cell gene from both parents which happens when both parents are carriers of the sickle cell gene. People with sickle cell disease produce unusually sickle shaped or crescent moon shaped red blood cells instead of a regular biconcave discoid shaped red blood cells. The sickle shaped red blood cells can cause problems because they do not live as long as healthy blood cells and can block blood vessels. Sickle cell anemia is the disease which is a serious lifelong health condition; although treatment can help manage many of the symptoms it can affect any and all major organs, the liver, heart, kidney, gallbladder, eyes, bones, and joints. These people can suffer damage from abnormal function of the sickle cells and their inability to flow through the small blood vessels correctly.
Blood clots are caused by coagulation and they induce an increased risk of blood clotting in the deep vein; abnormal sickle shaped red blood cells makes people with this condition to develop haemoglobinopathy a public health condition relating to vessels. A sickle cell crisis is pain that can begin suddenly and last several hours to several days, it happens when sickle red blood cells block small blood vessels that carry blood to your bones. Sickle cell disease patients frequently experience hypoxia or low oxygen levels in tissues due to reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin S, you might have pain in your back, legs, arms etc. Patients should focus on self-care, avoid very strenuous exercise, intense activities that may cause you to become out of breath, avoid alcohol and smoking, alcohol can cause dehydration and smoking can trigger a serious lung condition
Taking in lots of water at least two liters a day to neutralize coagulation and clotting of blood will dampen the effect of a crisis, this will require that you regularly go to toilet to make water as a consequence we call on employers and schools to have empathy allow this exceptionally for this type of person living with this condition. The four methods to handle sickle cell disease as was reported on the BBC Focus Africa Program by an elderly lady who has been a patient for years from her experience are.
1) Water; drink two liters daily to help with re-hydrating and dilution.
2) Blood transfusion
3) Remove sickle blood and replace with new blood from healthy donors
4) Bone marrow transplant
No cure exists but with donors like family and paid donors transplant of bone marrow is made available in due time to alleviate the situation back to normalcy.