Sickle Cell Disease: Separating The Myths From The Facts
Sickle cell disease has been around for a long time and it was once considered a death sentence until recent medical advancements.
For a disease that has severely ravaged human population, there are some facts and lots of myths out there that people find difficult to differentiate.
Sickle-cell disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person’s parents.
The most common type of this disorder is known as sickle-cell anaemia (SCA) and it results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin (hemoglobin S) found in red blood cells.
This abnormality results in a rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances.
The Problems of SCD begins to show from around 5 to 6 months of age.
This may result in a number of health problems in sufferers, which includes attacks of pain (otherwise known as “sickle-cell crisis”), anaemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infections, and stroke.
Furthermore, as sufferers grow older, there’s a likelihood of them developing long term pain, even as the average life expectancy of SCD in the developed world is 40 to 60 years.
Here are a number of things about sickle cell disease that people find difficult to determine either as myths or as facts.
MYTH: Only Black people get sickle cell disease
Despite the fact that SCD is most prevalent among people of African descent, It also affects people from India, the Middle East, Greece and southern Italy.
MYTH: It’s A Blood Disease, That Is Transmissible
MYTH: Sufferers Usually Die In Childhood
MYTH: No Cure Exists For The Disease
FACT: Transplant Surgery Is Possible
However, new research from the National Institutes of Health shows promise, and points to the fact that there is a significant increase in the numbers of people who can successfully cure their SCD through transplant surgery.