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Tips To Help You Grow Your Hair Naturally If You Suffer From Sickle Cell Anemia

At first glance, this sounds like the most trivial of matters. But it is a legitimate concern because sickle cell sufferers the world over also want to join the hugely popular natural black hair movement. But before you embark on a hair journey as a sickler, consider the following:

Keeping your hair natural is a lot more strenuous than keeping it permed or artificially straightened. Unlike the case with processed or permed hair, where you can often go to a salon and have it professionally attended to, you may have to do a lot more of the work involved in caring for your natural hair. There will be days when you are too ill or too tired to care for your hair, and it may deteriorate into a shrunken mess.

You can prepare for the challenges of your natural hair journey by doing the following:

1. Establish an emergency network before you start. This is a network of anybody and everybody who is willing to jump in and help you when you are unable to carry out your care routine.

For example, locate a good salon near you which also deals with natural hair. This way, you can always rush there in an emergency, or treat yourself to professional hair care occasionally, and save energy. You can also identify friends and family members who would be willing to do a quick protective style when you are totally out of energy.

2. Whenever you are well enough, invest some advance care into your hair. Use the opportunity to do something really good to your hair such as an elaborate deep conditioning, or hair mask. This will lend your hair extra good condition, to compensate for the times when you are too ill to take good care of it. Such care can also help repair the hair after periods of neglect. You can use such periods when you are well also to mix or prepare natural hair care products and refridgerate them for later use.

3. Use natural oils and other natural ingredients for your hair care, so as to enhance the benefits you are striving to attain by going natural. Many women who go natural are doing so to break away from the harsh chemicals used to process and maintain permed or processed hair.

These chemicals are believed to have negative health consequences. Although not scientifically proven, it is plausible that these negative health effects could interact even more drastically with sickle cell anemia. Using natural oils such as coconut, olive, almond and jojoba oils, as well as shea butter, for such processes as deep cleansing, moisturising and hair masking can only enhance health benefits for your hair.

4. Learn a few simple protective styles, such as twisting. This way, you will be able to keep the hair protected for longer periods of time, till you have the energy to dress it again.

5. Invest in some stylish hair covering for days when you are too ill or too tired to style your hair but still need to look presentable. You can invest in: caps, hats, head ties, head scarves or wool caps. If you take your time to choose them well, you can find head coverings that accessorize very elegantly with your personal style.

Personally, I have an array of colourful head ties, which I love to wear – bad hair day or not.

6. Keep your goal in mind. Remind yourself why you are doing this: to reduce the amount of dangerous chemicals in your beauty routine, to enjoy your natural hair, to develop your sense of identity, to make a statement, or for whatever reason you want to grow your hair naturally.

Keeping your goal in mind will help you to keep going during the discouraging patches.

7. Don’t give up. It is very easy to give up on your natural hair journey because you will keep falling behind when you are ill. You will lose hair length if your hair gets entangled and breaks because you are too ill or too tired to follow your hair routine.

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Don’ts For Parents Raising Children Suffering From Sickle Cell Anemia

Many parents are emotionally shattered when they receive the diagnosis that their child suffers from sickle-cell anemia. This initial reaction can settle into a set of negative attitudes that make it harder to cope with the illness. Here are three negative reactions to guard against:

1. Do not assume that your child is going to die.

Since sickle-cell anemia has a high death rate, many parents give up on their sickler children soon after they are born. This attitude subconsciously leads them to give less than their very best for the child. In effect, they are just waiting for the child to die, which in turn becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sadly, the child may unconsciously imbibe this attitude, and give up the fight to live. The child’s belief that he or she will live wanes, as does the will to live.

In order to combat this negative attitude, hold on to the positive examples of those living with sickle-cell anemia. Join forums in order to keep up with how other parents and sufferers are coping, and remind yourself of the increasing number of positive outcomes.

2. Do not encourage prolongation of the sick role.

Caring parents may tend to shelter the sick child, thinking, “This child must be spared this and that. He or she is sick.” This may encourage the child to embrace the sick role, along with the rewards of increased attention and avoidance of unpleasant chores.

The child may get the impression that the best emotional rewards come when they are ill. They are sick, and therefore “special”. They may even become very spoilt children.

Scientific studies show that even adult sicklers enjoy the added attention and sympathy from family, friends or partner when experiencing a painful crisis, which may encourage or prolong the crisis.

By all means, give the child needed attention and care when they are ill or have an attack. But to combat a preference for the sick role, consistently reward “well” behaviour, such as when the child successfully completes tasks that are part of normal life.

My mother never rewarded the sick role. She did everything for me when I was ill – no effort was too great. But she was much more excited when I had good grades, or learnt how to cook, or made strides in my faith. I was the eldest, and I was never excused from taking responsibility for the younger ones.

In short, my mother signaled to me that living was much more rewarding than being sick. Being ill was never a reward for me. I looked forward to getting well, and to all the things I could do when I got well, and I worked hard towards getting and remaining well.

3. Do not settle into a depression.

Many parents succumb to a depression or deep sadness, or at least a subdued mood, when they learn that they have a chronically ill child, whose condition is incurable. They feel the obligation to maintain this depressed mood because of their child’s illness.

However, this is not necessary. Of course, there will be sad and frustrating times when the child repeatedly falls ill, but there is no need for sustained mourning. Every child benefits from a happy family, especially a child that is chronically ill.

Have fun with your child and with the rest of the family. Let the child have fun with its siblings. Do all the silly and enjoyable things that make family so special.

This will create strong family ties that will sustain the child through tough times. Moreoever, a habit of happiness is one of the best sources of motivation to stay alive.

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5Ways To Be Equitable When Raising A Child Suffering From Sickle Cell Anemia With Siblings

Raising a child suffering from sickle-cell anemia is hard enough. Raising such a child in a family with more than one child is a real challenge. To avoid breeding resentments, follow the equity principle:

This simply means that you try to make sure that all the children are equitably served. You are going to spend a lot of money, time, energy, attention and emotion on the sick child.

In order to deal equitably with the other children, you will need to spend the same amount on them, in different ways. Here are some suggestions:

1. Children with sickle-cell anemia need lots of protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat, fish and milk, in order to facilitate blood production in the body. If you can afford to regularly provide these for the whole family, by all means do so.

If not, try to make these food items a feature of family meals as often as possible, so that the other children do not feel deprived.

Alternatively, allow the healthy children an extra helping of something else they like, if it is affordable. If the sick child requires any special juices or food supplements, allow the other children to sample these, including the unpleasant things.

2. You will spend time in hospitals and clinics with the sick child. In the interests of equity, try to schedule similar amounts of time to spend alone with the other children. You can accompany them to their hobbies (such as to football games or dance class) or just spend time alone with them.

Express interest in their activities, and in the personal challenges they are facing. Listen to them and be there for them.

3. You will spend extra money on the sick child; for food supplements, extra medicine and so on. Try to schedule extra money for the other children as well, to spend on activities or items of their choice.

Alternatively, assign them some individual privileges, unique to each child.

4. Make sure every child has a permanent place in the home, and items personal to them. If possible, every child should have their own room, or at least their own bed or sleeping space and personal items like clothes or school books.

In low-income countries, this is a real challenge. But try to implement as much of this as possible so that each child has the feeling of having an irrevocable place in the family.

5. Talk to the children, explaining the disease and its challenges to them, tailoring the facts according to their age.

Explain why the sick child needs this and that and how the child feels, but also make it clear that you would do the same for the others if they were in the same situation.

Pay the other children as much attention when they are ill as you do to the sickler. This will underscore your words that you would do the same for them.

It is a tough assignment to raise a child suffering from sickle-cell anemia along with other children. But it is doable.

A family is a place of warmth and belonging, but it also remains a hotbed of sibling rivalry for family resources.

In order to avoid breeding resentments, assign equitable (as equal as possible) portions of time, money, space, attention, emotion and other resources to the other children as you do to the sick child.

This will help turn the sickler’s siblings into allies, and not opponents.

This is good advice for any family, but especially for families in which at least one child has special needs.

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Nutrition and Sickle-Cell Anaemia

The role of nutrition in sickle-cell anaemia is by no means settled, but certain points are clear. First, keeping alcohol use modest helps. A drink or two every now and then is okay, but overdoing it can easily trigger a sickle-cell crisis.

Second, it is important to emphasize plant foods – vegetables, beans, grains, and fruits – in your daily routine. Vegetables and beans, in particular, are rich in the folic acid needed to make blood cells. Also, these foods give your plenty of protein without using animal products. This is important, because sickle cells can clog the kidney’s tiny blood vessels, causing it to gradually lose its filtering ability. Animal proteins accelerate the loss of kidney function. Getting your protein from plant sources helps preserve your kidneys.

Third, taking a daily vitamin-mineral supplement is good insurance. In addition to supplying folic acid and zinc, which are low in some people with sickle-cell disease, it also supplies vitamin B12, which is missing from grains, beans, vegetables and fruits.

Iron supplements should be used only if prescribed by your physician. While some people with sickle-cell disease are low in iron, others are iron overloaded, particularly if they have had numerous blood transfusions. Some care providers have also suggested the use of vitamin E, 450 IU per day, although the evidence that it helps is only modest at present.

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Effects of Sickle Cell Anaemia on Employment

One of the effects of Sickle Cell Anaemia that is often overlooked is the effect it can have on the pursuit of a career.

The need for frequent hospital visits, for check-ups to maintain optimum health can, at least, be scheduled by employers in advance to contain any disruption in the Company’s productivity.

Employers are usually accommodating and supportive but the truth is that in today’s world of short-term contracts and tenuous employer/employee loyalty, companies are much more adept at finding reasons to declare an employee “unsuitable for the post to which they applied”.

This is a very subjective statement and almost impossible to prove discrimination based on the codes of practice detailed in the Disability Discrimination Act that prohibits dismissal based on the grounds of an employee’s disability.

Attractive incentives are offered by governments to encourage employers to recruit from particular areas of the workforce in order to provide a balanced perspective that highlights a person’s abilities rather than their disabilities.

All well and good. However, for someone with Sickle Cell Anaemia, the rogue factor of having an invisible disability that makes its appearance randomly, is not that easily accommodated by managers who do not prepare sufficiently for the Sickle Cell employee’s absences.

Consequently, the employee’s capabilities are questioned, they are made to feel guilty for the extra “burden” they place on their colleagues for covering their absence which leads to a greater level of tension, stress and ultimately more absence due to ill health, and so the cycle continues.

In an ideal world, managers would be able to plan ahead to cover for any eventuality but they are not infallible and will, some would say, logically look for an easy solution – the removal of the perceived burden on the company’s productivity by any means possible, that is, the “unfit for purpose” line.

Rather than stating the employee’s ill health though, reasons for dismissal suggest incompetence, a lack of proficiency, ability, capability and a whole list of similies that do nothing for an already deflated ego.

There is nothing worse than the feeling that you are limited by something you have absolutely no power over, that your physical being is conspiring against you to prevent you from living the life you want to live.

In periods of good health, you are able to live life as you want to but the pschological effect of the crisis episodes that suddenly strip you of the ability to provide yourself with the basic requirements of food and personal hygiene, takes its toll – even on the most cheerful of people.

The frustration is immense.

As most self-help theories advocate, the trick is to keep bouncing back. if nothing else, persistence and bouncing back are qualities that are extremely well developed in the mind-set of some one with Sickle Cell Anaemia – a rare quality that should appeal to the discerning manager or employer – in an ideal world.

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Popular Ways to Raise Awareness for Sickle Cell Diseases

The disease commonly known as Sickle-Cell Anemia (SCA) affects many around the world. It is possible that the disease may start early at the age of five to six months. Some of the drastic side effects of this disease that become apparent include acute pain, anemia, chronic infections, and sometimes stroke. The sickle-cell trait is identified to be extensive, reaching its highest predominance in parts of Africa and Saudi Arabia where the prevention management of sickle cell disease has been carried out aggressively. World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is conducted on 19th June of every year.

There are many programs around the world to control this disease. Prevention is done through sickle-cell screening and genetic counseling for contaminated regions. Researchers say that the disease can be identified even before birth.

Surveillance and research are important components of the program where the information generated should be disseminated and used as evidence in policy-making as well as in day-to-day decision-making in the management of the programs. Partnerships should be fostered between health professionals, parents, patients, relevant community interest groups, and the media. These partnerships will facilitate civic learning and identification of genetic risks in the community by making it easier to record family disease history, raise more awareness, and actively participate in prevention care programs.

The following are some of the general ways to raise awareness for sickle cell disease:

  • Create kiosks in order to share knowledge and help people utilize the opportunity to gain information for those in need.
  • Spread the word on social media in several ways such as spreading the word through messages-“John the fight against sickle cell disease.” Those who see it in their feed may feel compelled to learn more about the cause.
  • Make and post a documentary-style video on social media about the symptoms and treatments of disease.
  • Start a petition to build billboards at important junctions to spread the word about the sickle cell eradication programs.
  • Start campaigning and talking to friends and family about Sickle Cell Awareness Day. This would be a perfect opportunity for them to learn about the disease.
  • Make pamphlets or flyers about the disease. A few different questions to answer: “How is it prevented?” and “What are some of the symptoms?” These can be given out at shopping malls, supermarkets, hospitals, and so on.
  • Wear certain accessory items such as T-shirts and hats, and buy other types of merchandise such as pens, mugs, and pins. One really creative and effective way to spread awareness for the disease is to wear silicone wristbands. Any message can be printed on any given wristband, meaning that those who notice it will also see the message. These wristbands are also popular fashion accessories that can be worn by practically anyone. They are popular at any public event. They are especially useful gifts to give people at a fundraising campaign event. Wristbands bought online are fully customizable, but no matter where they come from, they often come in a variety of colors, sizes, and designs. When customizing silicone wristbands, it is possible to select special designs such as embossed, debossed, dual layer, multi colored, and swirled that aren’t seen as often in stores.

Again, Sickle-Cell Anemia is a very deadly disease that makes life harder for people all over the world. Help these victims by spreading awareness; no matter how it’s done, it is always appreciated.

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Understanding Sickle Cell Anemia

For the African-American community, sickle cell disease is a major health issue. Sickle cell disease can also affect Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian Indian ancestry, and there is a growing segment in the Latino-American population particularly those of Caribbean, Central American, and South American ancestry. In the United States one out of every 400 births has this disease. The most common type of sickle cell disease is sickle cell anemia.

Definition and Description of Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited blood disorders that center on red blood cells which can function abnormally resulting in small blood clots, chronic anemia, painful events, and potential complications associated with tissue and organ damage. These blood disorders include sickle cell anemia, Mediterranean blood disease, the sickle beta thalassemia syndromes, and hemoglobinopathies in which the sickle cell hemoglobin is in association with other abnormal hemoglobin in sufficient concentration to cause the red blood cell to sickle.

All types of sickle cell disease are caused by a genetic change in the hemoglobin portion of the red blood cell. Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein inside the red blood cell. Normal red blood cells are oval and flexible. Red blood cells in sickle cell disease have a tendency to reshape themselves into rod-like structures that resemble the curved blade of a sickle; thus, the term sickle cell. Sickle cells have a shorter life span than normal red blood cells. This results in chronic anemia and reduced oxygen to the tissues of the body. Sickle cells are less flexible and more sticky than normal red blood cells. This presents a problem since they can become trapped in the small blood vessels preventing blood flow to the body’s tissues. This compromise in the delivery of oxygen to the tissues results in pain and potential damage to the associated tissues and organs.

Carriers of the sickle cell gene are referred to as having sickle cell trait. Most of the time sickle cell trait does not cause health problems. In fact, sickle cell trait can be beneficial because it provides protection against malaria, a disease caused by blood-borne parasites transmitted through mosquito bites. It is estimated that one in 12 African-Americans has sickle cell trait.

The Cause of Sickle Cell Disease!

The hemoglobin molecule of a red blood cell is made up of three components: heme, alpha or alpha-like globin, and beta or beta-like globin. Sickle cells contain a genetic change in the beta globin component of the hemoglobin molecule. This is caused by a change in the genetic coding on chromosome 11. One small change in a single DNA nucleotide results in a different amino acid being inserted into the beta globin protein of the hemoglobin molecule resulting in the unique properties of sickle cells. For simplicity we will call this altered gene the “sickle cell gene” and the regular gene the “normal red blood cell gene.”

For most individuals, they have two copies of the “normal red blood cell gene” to produce normal beta globin resulting in typical red blood cells. Individuals with sickle cell trait have one “normal red blood cell gene” and one “sickle cell gene” so they produce both normal red blood cells and sickle cells in roughly equal proportions. Because of this they do not usually experience significant health problems as a result of having sickle cell trait. Those with sickle cell anemia have two “sickle cell genes.”

Genetics plays a significant role in both the disease, symptoms, and in family planning. If both members of a couple have sickle cell trait then there is a 25% chance in each pregnancy for the baby to inherit two sickle cell genes and the resulting child will have sickle cell anemia. Correspondingly, there is a 50% chance the baby will have sickle cell trait and a 25% chance that the baby will have the “normal red blood cell genes”. If both members of a couple have sickle cell anemia then the baby will have sickle cell anemia 100% of the time. If one member of the couple has sickle cell anemia and the other has both “normal red blood cell genes”, then the resulting child will have sickle cell trait 100% of the time. Finally, if one member of the couple has sickle cell trait and the other has both “normal red blood cell genes”, then the resulting child has a 50% chance of have normal red blood cell hemoglobin or a 50% chance of having sickle cell trait.

The Need for Oxygen!

Oxygen is necessary for life and the optimal function of all cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues throughout your body. It is the hemoglobin molecule that binds oxygen to itself in the lungs and then releases oxygen to the tissues for proper cell respiration. However, once the oxygen is released by the sickle cell hemoglobin it can cause the red blood cell to alter its normal oval shape into the rigid, sickle shape characteristic of sickle cells. Low oxygen can be a trigger for this change. Studies also seem to indicate that cold temperatures and dehydration can be factors in triggering this change.

Normal red blood cells can survive for approximately 120 days where as sickle cells typically last 10-12 days. This is an important factor because it leaves the bloodstream chronically short of red blood cells and hemoglobin which leads to anemia. This creates its own shortage of oxygen which could trigger a shape change in the red blood cell to the sickle shape. This rigid, sickle shape does not allow the sickle cell to fit well through small blood vessels. In addition, there are altered chemical properties that develop which increases the cells’ “stickiness”. That is why sickle cells tend to adhere to the inside surfaces of small blood vessels and other blood cells resulting in blockages in these blood vessels. These blockages prevent oxygenated blood from reaching tissue areas resulting in pain and possibly organ and tissue damage if kept without oxygen long enough.

Common symptoms include the following:

o Bloody urine, frequent urination

o Bone and/or abdominal pain, chest pain

o Delayed growth and puberty

o Excessive thirst

o Fatigue, breathlessness, rapid heart rate

o Increased susceptibility to infections, fever

o Pain which can vary from moderate to intense

o Paleness, yellow eyes and/or skin, jaundice

o Poor eyesight or blindness

o Ulcers on the lower legs usually in adolescents and adults

The severity of symptoms varies widely and cannot be predicted solely on genetic inheritance. Some with sickle cell disease develop health and life threatening problems in infancy while others only have mild symptoms throughout their lives. Others experience various degrees of health issues as they age. Certain variations of sickle cell disease tend to have less severe symptoms on average than other types of sickle cell disease.

Organs and Body Systems Affected by Sickle Cell Disease

Various organs and body systems can be effect by sickle cell disease. As you will see from this list, sickle cell disease has a wide range of effects on the body. Bottom line is that any tissue that needs oxygen and adequate blood flow can be at risk.

o Acute Chest Syndrome – Acute chest syndrome or ACS is a leading cause of death for those with sickle cell disease. It takes place in the lungs and rapid diagnosis and treatment is very important. ACS can occur at any age. It is similar to pneumonia in symptoms but distinct in its damage.

o Anemia – As we learned early, sickle cells have a life span of 10-12 days resulting in a deficiency of red blood cells in the bloodstream. It is the hemoglobin of red blood cells that carry oxygen so with this deficiency there is a reduction in oxygen to the tissues. Common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, paleness, and a shortness of breath. The heart rate will increase to try to circulate more blood to make up for the lack of oxygen to the tissues.

o Delayed Growth – Because of the short life span of sickle cells, the energy demands of the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells compete with the demands of a growing body. Children with sickle cell anemia may experience delayed growth and reach puberty at a later age. However, by early adulthood, they catch up on growth and height but may still remain below average in weight.

o Infections and the Spleen – Children under the age of three with sickle cell disease are particularly susceptible to life-threatening bacterial infections especially from Streptococcus pneumoniae. Unfortunately, 15% of these types of cases result in death. Since your spleen helps to fight bacterial infections, it is particularly vulnerable to the effects of sickle cells. It is not uncommon to see the loss of spleen function by late childhood for those with sickle cell anemia.

o Jaundice and Gallstones – Jaundice is indicated by a yellow tone in the skin and eyes due to increased levels of bilirubin which is the final product of hemoglobin degradation when red blood cells are destroyed. Bilirubin is removed from the bloodstream by the liver and elevated levels can increase the chance for gallstones.

o Joint Problems – The blood supply to the connective tissue, especially in the hip and shoulder joints, can be blocked by the sickle cells resulting in bone damage and poor healing. This complication can affect an individual’s physical abilities and result in substantial and chronic pain.

o Kidney Disease – Kidneys are particularly prone to damage from sickle cells. Adults with sickle cell disease often experience reduce functioning of the kidneys which can progress to kidney failure.

o Painful Events – This is the hallmark symptom of sickle cell disease. The frequency and duration varies tremendously from individual to individual and over an individual’s lifetime. These painful events are also the most common cause for hospitalization. The hallmark symptom results when the small blood vessels become blocked by the sickle cells preventing oxygen from reaching the tissues. Although pain can affect any area of the body, the most frequent sites are the extremities, chest, abdomen, and bones.

o Priapism – Only males have to deal with this since it is a condition characterized by a persistent and painful erection. Blood vessels become blocked by sickle cells so that blood is trapped in the tissue of the male’s organ. It is extremely painful and can result in damage to this tissue causing impotence.

o Retinopathy – The blood vessels that support the tissue at the back of the eye may be blocked by sickle cells resulting in a condition called retinopathy. Regular ophthalmology evaluations and effective treatment can help a person avoid permanent damage to their vision.

o Stroke – This is one of the most concerning complications of sickle cell disease since approximately 11% of individuals with this disease will have a recognizable stroke by the age of 20. Typically, a stroke in a person with sickle cell disease is caused by a blockage of a brain blood vessel by the sickle cells. This results in lack of oxygen to the affected area of the brain. The consequences are far ranging from undetectable effects to apparent or subtle learning disabilities to severe physical or cognitive impairment to life-threatening.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The inheritance of sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait cannot be prevented but it can be predicted so screening is recommended. If you exhibit symptoms, then contact your physician so that accurate tests can be done to determine if you carry the “sickle cell gene” and what level of risk you are at. For newborns, more than 40 states include sickle cell screening as part of the battery of blood tests. However, don’t just assume the test is done. You must always be proactive.

Hemoglobin trait screening is always a good choice for any person of a high-risk ethnic background especially if you are considering having children. If you and your partner are found to have sickle cell or other hemoglobin traits, then you might want to receive genetic counseling to better understand the risk of sickle cell disease for your offspring and various testing options available to you.

Treatment options are intended to prevent some of the symptoms and complications of sickle cell disease. These treatment options can include:

o Access to comprehensive health care

o Adequate nutrition

o Avoiding stresses and infection

o Blood transfusions

o Bone marrow transplantation

o Getting proper rest

o Good hydration

o Hydroxyurea

o Pain management

o Proper immunizations

o Supplementation with folic acid

o Support groups

o Surgery

o Use of preventative antibiotics

As with any disease condition, you want to always work with a qualified health professional to develop a course of action that best fits your individual situation.

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National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sickle cell disease is a great concern all over the world. It affects nearly 100,000 people in the United States and every year, roughly one in 500 African-American babies is born with it. It is an inherited disorder that causes red blood cells to abnormally take on a rigid C or sickle shape and can get stuck inside the blood vessels and block the blood flow. This may lead to severe pain and infections and can cause serious complications like organ damage and stroke. Proper knowledge and alertness about the disease are key to its prevention. September is designated as National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and it is high time to make people alert about its causes.

Let us discuss some of the best ways to create alertness:

Know the Disease

Self-awareness about any disease is the most essential thing to prevent the complications to some extent. First of all, it is important to know that this disease is not contagious. And even though this disease is a chronic one, patients can still lead very productive lives. Researches are working on the development of new medications that stop sickling of red blood cells and improve the flow of blood.

Get Regular Check-ups

This disease occurs when a child inherits sickle hemoglobin genes from the parent. If it comes to your knowledge that anyone who’s planning to have a child, is a carrier of the disease, make them aware of the consequences. Explain the necessity to consult a genetic counselor before trying to conceive. He can explain about the risks, preventive measures and possible treatments available. Regular health checkups can help prevent serious problems.

Donate Blood

Patients with this disease should get regular blood transfusions in order to ensure the red blood cells flow smoothly throughout their body. You can organize a blood donation camp in your community to create awareness about the need for donation of blood.

Participate Events in Social Media

In this awareness month, many support organizations conduct various events through social media like Facebook and Twitter. You can also participate and post your experiences. You may join the Twitter party which is being organized by the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America to raise awareness.

Recommend Healthy Lifestyle Changes

To make new red blood cells, you need vitamins and folic acid. Hence, choose a nutritious diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. Try to avoid extreme climate like too cold or too hot. Keep regular appointments with your physician and take your medicines regularly as prescribed.

Update Clinical Studies

Scientists and Physicians have learned more about this and they know how it affects the body and how to prevent the possible complications. Further, a lot of research work has been going on to find better treatment and cure for this disease. You can take part in these studies to update your knowledge about the new medicines and treatments.


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Steps To Help Those With Sickle Cell Disease

Step 1 – Proper hydration: It is estimated that 75% of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. This will affect blood flow so getting the proper amount of water on a daily basis is critically important. It must be pure water. Pop, coffee, diet soda, alcohol, or other doctored beverages to not count. Your body must replace 2-3 quarts of water everyday. As a rule of thumb, for every 15 lbs of weight, you need 8 ounces (1 cup) of water.

Step 2 – Stay warm: Cold reduces blood flow because capillaries constrict. If you live in a cold environment, then take extra precaution to keep your extremities, especially fingers and toes, properly protected.

Step 3 – Avoid high altitudes: Geographic locations with high elevations should be avoided due to the reduce level of oxygen in the atmosphere.

Step 4 – Exercise: Intense exercise should be avoided but mild to moderate aerobic exercise can be a benefit. Exercise improves blood flow and can produce collateral capillary beds that can aid in providing alternative pathways for blood flow when an arterial pathway becomes blocked. Before starting an exercise program, you should always consult your physician.

Step 5 – L-arginine supplementation: The body utilizes L-arginine to create nitric oxide which is necessary for the proper function of the cardiovascular system especially in the control of the elasticity of the arterial walls. Now, before you go out and start buying L-arginine supplements you need to be aware of the dark side of this amino acid. L-arginine ingested in its pure form tastes terrible and will simply go into the stomach, move into the intestinal tract and then into the gut, negating most of its benefits. There is only one way for L-arginine supplement to be safe and effective and that is in a powder form with a specific glycoside rider. By itself, L-arginine can have some serious side effects like: increasing free-radical brain damage, activation of the herpes simplex virus and reduced sperm motility. This is why L-arginine is also called the “double-edged sword.” Because L-arginine is a blind amino acid it must be attached to a rider to properly direct it to the area of the body where it will have an impact. This rider must use a low-glycemic method.

Step 6 – Organic germanium: Organic germanium was first synthesized 20 years ago. It is a trace mineral that helps support the immune system. Its many beneficial attributes include oxygen enrichment, free-radical scavenging, and heavy-metal detoxification. Organic germanium is also known to be a rejuvenator and aid in increasing stamina, endurance, energy, and heart muscle tone. Toxicological studies have documented its rapid absorption and elimination from the body. But, as a precaution, you should discuss this with both your physician and pharmacist especially if you are on any type of medication.

Step 7 – Rest: It is important to get adequate rest since stress can have a negative effect on your overall health and wellness as well as lower your immune system.

Step 8 – Support your immune system: There is so much that could be said in this area. Increasing your consumption of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables would be an important first step. Daily consumption of at least 500 mg of vitamin C would help both the immune system and liver function.

Step 9 – Support your liver: Again, there is much that could be said in this area. Adequate amounts of green leafy vegetables with proper water intake are two good first steps to help the liver. Taking 500 mg of vitamin C will help increase the rate of synthesis of glutathione which is a major component in liver detoxification.

Step 10 – Avoid people with colds and flu: Try not to place yourself in situations that allow for infections to occur. This may require you to use a mask at times if your work or school environment is compromised with illness issues.

Step 11 – Immunizations: Stay up-to-date with the proper immunizations needed. Work with your health care provider to set up a schedule so that all the proper steps are taken to stay on top of this area.

Step 12 – Folic acid supplementation: Folic acid is a necessary component for the production of red blood cells. The recommended daily amount for adults is 400 micrograms and 600 micrograms in pregnancy. If you are thinking about taking a larger amount, then you should discuss this with both your physician and pharmacist.

Step 13 – Support groups: Because of the emotional challenges of this disease it always helps to find a support group to share frustrations, challenges, hopes, and successes.

Step 14 – Family planning: Due to the genetic nature of sickle cell disease, it is always helpful to discuss options with a family practitioner who has experience in genetic counseling.

Because of the genetic nature of sickle cell disease there is no pill to cure it. This can leave individuals and family members feeling helpless in their battle against the symptoms of this disease. Discuss these 14 steps with a qualified physician to develop a plan of action that will help to empower you to have better control over sickle cell disease.

cassandranonprofitSteps To Help Those With Sickle Cell Disease
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Do You Know About Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disorder or hemoglobinopathy in which normal adult hemoglobin (HbA) is partly or completely replaced by an abnormal hemoglobin (HbS) causing distortion and rigidity of red blood cells under conditions of reduced oxygen tension.

Sickle cell anemia, the homozygous form of the dishemoglobin variant, including fetal hemoglobin (HbF). Sickle disease (HbSS). Sickle cell-hemoglobin C disease, a variant of sickle cell anemia including both HbS and HbC/ Sickle cell thalassemia disease, a combination of sickle cell trait and thalassemia trait.

Mode of Transmission

HbSS is an autosomal-recessive disorder. The inheritance is describer as intermediate because the gene is partially expressed in the heterozygous state and completely expresses in the homozygous start. In the United states, it is estimated that 1:12 black persons carries the trait; therefore, the risk of two black parents having a child with the disease is 0.7%. The occurrence of other forms of sickle cell disease is the result of Union between two individuals who carry the heterozygous form of variants of sickle cell trait.

Basic defect

The basic defect responsible for the sickling effect of erythrocytes is in the globin fraction of hemoglobin. Which is composed of 574 amino acids. Hemoglobin S differs from hemoglobin A in the substitution of only one amino acid for another. Valine instead of glutamine resides in the sixth position of the (3-polypeptide chain, under conditions of decreased oxygen tension and lowered pH, the relatively insoluble hemoglobin S changes its molecular structure to form long, slender crystals. The rapid growth of these filamentous crystals causes tenting of the cell membrane and the formation of crescent or sickle-shaped red blood cells. The filamentous forms are associated with much greater viscosity than the normal holly- leaf structure of hemoglobin A.

The tendency to sickle is also related to the concentration of hemoglobin within the cell. Since hypertonicity of the blood plasma increases the intracellular concentration of hemoglobin, dehydration promotes sickling. In most instances, the sickling response is reversible under conditions of adequate oxygenation and hydration. During this time, the red blood cells are indistinguishable from normal erythrocytes on peripheral examination.

Although the defects are inherited at the time of conception, the sickling phenomenon is usually not apparent until later in infancy. The high levels of fetal hemoglobin prevent excessive sickling of the red blood cells. The newborn has from 60% to 80% fetal hemoglobin, but this rapidly decreases during the first year, so that sickling becomes apparent after 4 months of age.

Persons with sickle cell trait have the same basic defect, but only about 24% to 45% of the total hemoglobin is hemoglobin S. The remainder is hemoglobin A. Normally these individuals are asymptomatic. However, under conditions of extreme or prolonged deoxygenation, such as strenuous physical exercise, anesthesia, infection, pulmonary disease, anemia, high-altitude environments, underwater swimming, or pregnancy, sickling crises may occur. The higher the percentage of hemoglobin S, the more likely is the occurrence of symptomatic responses.

cassandranonprofitDo You Know About Sickle Cell Anemia?
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