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In: English and Literature

Submitted By garrymani
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Sickle Cell Disease is an illness that affects people all across the globe. This paper will give a description of the sickness through the discussion of the causes, symptoms, and possible cures. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a "group of inherited red blood cell disorders."(1) These disorders can have various afflictions, such as pain, damage and a low blood count--Sickle Cell Anemia. Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States. Approximately 80,000 Americans have the disease. In the United States, sickle cell disease is most prevalent among African Americans. About one in 12 African Americans and about one in 100 Hispanic Americans carry the sickle cell trait, which means they are carriers of the disease. Sickle cell disease is caused by a mutation in the hemoglobin-Beta gene found on chromosome 11. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Red blood cells with normal hemoglobin (hemoglobin-A) are smooth and round and glide through blood vessels.

In people with sickle cell disease, abnormal hemoglobin molecules - hemoglobin S - stick to one another and form long, rod-like structures. These structures cause red blood cells to become stiff, assuming a sickle shape. Their shape causes these red blood cells to pile up, causing blockages and damaging vital organs and tissue.

Sickle cells are destroyed rapidly in the bodies of people with the disease, causing anemia. This anemia is what gives the disease its commonly known name - sickle cell anemia.

The sickle cells also block the flow of blood through vessels, resulting in lung tissue damage that causes acute chest syndrome, pain episodes, stroke and priapism (painful, prolonged erection). It also causes damage to the spleen, kidneys and liver. The damage to the spleen makes patients - especially young children - easily overwhelmed by...

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