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Sickle Cell Anemia: crisis, eating habits, symptoms and treatment

In this article, i’ll be talking about the sickle cell anemia. It is a common blood disorder. There are cases or of S.C.D (sickle cell disease) more in underdeveloped countries because of a lack of proper awareness. The article talks mainly about crisis in sicklers, eating habits, symptoms and treatment and will help you to understand the sickle cell disease and what is good for a person suffering with S.C.D.

S.C.D (sickle cell disease) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that causes the red blood cells to be dis-formed and die off easily unlike healthy cells.  When the red blood cells become sickled, it can block blood flow which causes pain in sicklers (sickle cell crisis). In sicklers, when the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cell  it is known as Anemia. When the blood cells of sicklers become sickled, they have trouble traveling through the small blood vessels which reduces the level of oxygen in the tissues and this can lead to fatigue, crisis, and a fat heart rate.

Crisis

A sickle cell crisis is a severe or mild pain that can occur suddenly and can last for days or even months. Crisis happens when the blood becomes sickled and has a hard time passing through the smallest blood vessels. The pain could occur in arms, legs, chest, waist, back, fingers or feet of the patient. The pain can be mild, sharp or severe.Iin such cases there are drugs that are taken

to control or ease the pain. some common drugs used for crisis in sicklers are: diclofenac, ibuprofen, asprin, acetaminophen (panadol, tylenol). Although, asprin is not advised for persons under the age of 18.

Crisis in sicklers is caused by very high or low temperatures, strenuous exercises, dehydration, anxiety or sudden change in emotions, When it comes to exercising, sicklers should not engage in very serious exercises or difficult ones. avoid pushing yourself pass your limit as this can affect your health. Exercise that requires sicklers to watch their diet is not very advisable as some necessary foods may be left out.

Crisis in sicklers can be acute or chronic. The sickle cell disease is the most common gene disorder and the pain associated with it is regarded as excruciating and threatening to the health.

Types of pain episodes in sicklers

Acute pain:

Acute pain are pain episodes that occur as a result of a vasco-occlusive crisis (VOC). The VOC occurs when the sickled shaped red blood cells block blood vessels thereby affecting the normal blood flow which can cause damage in the tissues and causes pains. This should be taken serious. Acute pains can be treated with opoids such as codeine. If the pain becomes severe, a much stronger opoid is advised such as morphine. This should be done under the supervision of a physician. Acute pains can last for days or even weeks.

Chronic pains:

This pain is caused by a nerve damage and is usually associated with neuropathic pain. Neuropathic  pain is pain that occurs when your nervous system is damaged. This pain (neuropathic pain) may be caused by recurrent pain episodes or nerve damage. The pain can be seen as a sharp, numb or tingling sensation. Numbness can occur in the lips (lower lips). Chronic pain can last for a period of three months or more. The treatment for chronic pain solely depends on the reaction of the patient to the drugs or therapy given. In such cases, pain reliefs and their side effects should be appropriately checked also, the dose for an opoid should be adequately guided.

Eating Habits

Just like everyone else, a complete balanced diet is needed for the normal growth of children with sickle cell. Sicklers often have a slow and delayed growth and this is as a result of a lack of vitamin D and calcium. these nutrients work together to build strong bones. In a sickler, these nutrients are lesser and therefore leads to a growth in balance. It is necessary to consume foods containing vitamin D, calcium and protein. Examples of foods containing these nutrients are salmon, sardines, egg yolkes, diary foods, greens etc. These nutrients can also be gotten from supplements.

Vegetables are not exempted from this list. Sicklers should get enough Veges and fruits. One for each meal would go a long way. Do you measure the amount of water you take in a day? Naturally, to live a healthy life we need to consume as much water as possible. It helps in alot of things such as, flushing toxins out of the body, it helps to regulate body temperature, water aids in carrying various nutrients round the body. And so any more benefits. Now in sicklers, water is very important as it aids in hydration. Sicklers are not meant to be dehydrated because this can lead to pain episodes. Therefore, it is advisable that as a sickler, you drink a steady flow of water. A water bottle should be by you at all times. Water also helps to push those sickled cells that have been clustered in the blood stream. That is why when a child with sickle cell disease is ill, any good doctor would advice the use of water therapy.

Symptoms

Symptoms in sickle cell patients can come suddenly and gradually. Patients with sickle cell may experience the following:

  • A sudden pain in the joints and chest
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Slow development mostly physical
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Jaundice
  • Problems with vision
  • Infections
  • Swellings of the hands and feet
  • Bone pain

Treatment

There is only one known cure for the sickle cell disease which is a bone-marrow transplant. Even this is a 50-50 chance.

A general treatment for patients living with S.C.D are ;

  • Blood transfusion
  • Medications (daily drugs like folic acid to build the blood)   Where there is no bone marrow transplant, management of       S.C.D can still be done and very effectively too. When there is presence of pains, a proper rest and constant hydration can ease the pain. A heated water bottle can be of good use when gently pressed against the parts of the body experiencing the pain. Sicklers going through pain episodes should be balanced properly with soft pillows in order to cushion the pain. For example a pillow pain can be propped under the arm of a sickler to give a slight relief in the arm suffering the pain. If the pain persists, see a physician.

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