Saturday, 19 June 2021

Sickle Cell Awareness Day

 By Akpoyovwaire Aghogho Uniquette

World sickle cell day is United Nation recognized day to raise awareness of sickle cell at a national level and international level. Sickle cell disorder is recognized as a public health and one of the most world's foremost genetic disorders.

Sickle cell disorder is an inherited disorder that affects the hemoglobin in the red blood cells which causes the red blood cells to be malformed in shaped, rigid and breakdown easily. This malformed red blood cells leads to severe excruciating pain called a pain crisis.

Sickle cell disorder is inherited from both parents who have sickle cell trait genotype AS or AC leading to the birth of a their child with  either SS  or SC genotype.

Sickle cell disorder has a lot of effects to a sickle cell warrior and their family; we have the

1. Physical effect: pain, delayed growth, complications like leg ulcer, stroke, acute chest syndrome, jaundice.

2. Emotional effect: low self-esteem, anger against parents and against God and so on.

3. Financial effect: a lot of medical bills to pay.

4. Social effect: stigmatization from society, not been able to meet the demand of the society.

It is advisable for everyone to know their genotype especially because going into a serious relationship leading to marriage. Doing this enables you to know what you are getting involved with before going into marriage.

Genotype probability and compatibility:

AA + AA = 100% chance normal children.  (Excellent)

AA + AS = 50% chance normal children and 50% chance trait children (AS) (very good)

AA + SS = 25% chance trait children.   (Good)

AS + AS = 25% chance normal children , 50% chance trait children and 25% chance sickled children (fair)

AS + SS = 50% chance trait children 50% chance sickle children (bad)

SS + SS = 100% chance sickled children (very bad)

All these are probability of a single pregnancy, so you cannot determine which probability will happen to you, know your genotype.

Nigeria has the highest burden of sickle cell disorder in the world with over 150,000 babies born annually. One in two babies born with sickle cell disorder is Nigerian with only 5% of these children live past the age of 10 years. There is a lot myth and misconceptions about sickle cell disorder and below are the most common myth with the fact concerning the myth.

Myth 1: Only Black people suffer from SCD

Fact: SCD does not discriminate based on ethnicity or skin color; sickle cell can affect any race and person on the planet.

 Myth #2: It is a contagious blood-borne disorder

Fact: SCD is a genetic condition present at birth. Sickle cell disorder is not transferable it is inherited.

Myth #3: People with the disorder are immune to malaria.

Fact: Malaria may contribute to higher mortality rates among people with SCD in Africa.

Myth #4: People exaggerate SCD pain for access to drugs

Fact: The most common symptom of SCD is severe pain. This pain often does not respond to over-the-counter pain medicines, so people with SCD may need opioids to provide relief.

Myth #5: Sickle cell trait is a mild or early form of sickle cell disease

Fact: Sickle cell trait is different from SCD. A person with sickle cell trait inherits only 1 abnormal hemoglobin gene, while a person with SCD inherits 2 abnormal hemoglobin genes.

Myth #6: There is no cure for sickle cell disorder

Fact: There is a cure and the only cure so far to sickle cell disorder which is bone marrow transplant also known as a stem cell transplant. It involves replacing damaged cells in the body with healthy ones.

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