Sickle cell anemia is a chronic condition of blood that occurs as soon as the red blood cells change their shape and transform into sickle shaped cells. These cells are round shaped normally, while the transformation that takes place results in their shape and functioning being affected. The basic function of these cells is to transport oxygen to various body parts so that they get their required share in order to function smoothly.
The round shape of these cells makes it easier for them to fit into, and pass through several vessels and passages in the body without any obstruction. On the other hand, once sickle cell anemia occurs, the transformation in shape results in the cells not being able to pass through passages which are very narrow. As they are not able to travel to particular regions in the body, those places remain deprived of oxygen.
Furthermore, if organs such as the brain, kidney and heart do not obtain their share of oxygen, they may create a critical situation for the person who is suffering from it. One of the most common symptoms that is associated with it is pain, which may get worse in case the problem is not being controlled or cured. The lungs and liver may also start getting damaged. There are numerous other symptoms related to sickle cell, which vary from person to person. As some individuals may experience them in the mildest of forms, while for the rest it may be highly severe.
If a person is suffering from this disease, it may be present in him or her since the very beginning of their birth. However it starts getting evident after around four months. Along with pain, the person may also come across feelings of lethargy and weakness. Furthermore, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, heart rates getting rapid, and pain in the abdomen and chest may also be experienced. Such a person’s hands and feet become quite cold and the skin may turn out to be pale. The person might also experience blood while urinating, decreased fertility and pain in the penis. The symptoms for children with sickle cell anemia might be similar, when it comes to stomach ache, or pain in the chest and bones. Some children may only go through these some minutes, while the rest may suffer for days.
Get more details about this topic on: National Library of Medicine – Sickle Cell Disease