Sickle Cell Anemia Is a Genetic, Life-Long Term Paper

Pages: 3 (919 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Disease

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic, life-long condition which causes defected red blood cells, which form sickle cell shapes upon becoming deoxygenated, rather than maintaining the usual disc shape. The deformity in shape prevents the red cells from moving easily through the blood vessels as normal cells would. The sickle shaped cells tend to form clumps in the blood vessels and prevent the healthy cells from getting through. These blockages in the vessels may result in pain, serious infection and organ damage to the patient depending on where in the body the clumps form. Sickle cell anemia confers immunity to malaria, and as a result is more prevalent in ethnic groups from areas of the world in which malaria is prevalent (NIH).

GENETICS

Individuals who have sickle cell anemia are born with the condition, and will have the disorder for life as there is no cure. Those who inherit the disorder have two copies of the sickle cell gene, one from each parent. Those who inherit only one sickle cell gene and one healthy gene will develop a condition called sickle cell trait rather than full blown sickle cell anemia. This condition does not result in the same symptoms as sickle cell anemia, and so may go undetected. Those with sickle cell condition are at risk of passing the gene for sickle cell anemia to their children, and if the other parent were to also pass on the gene the child would develop sickle cell anemia (NIH).

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Term Paper on Sickle Cell Anemia Is a Genetic, Life-Long Assignment

The mutation in sickle hemoglobin S, the hemoglobin specifically found in sickle cell disease, is caused by a substitution of valine for glutamic acid in the sixth position of the ?-hemoglobin chain. This mutation causes the hemoglobin to crystallize when the cell becomes deoxygenated, which is the mechanism causing the hemoglobin molecules to stick together, thus leading to the deformity in the cell shape which is characteristic of the condition (SCIC). These cells clump together as they are sticky and the deformed shape prevents them from moving easily through the blood vessels. The blockages which are caused in the blood vessels lead to anemia as not only are the deformed sickle cells incapable of carrying oxygen, they also prevent healthy oxygenated erythrocytes from reaching the tissues of the body (NIH).

SYMPTOMS sufferer of sickle cell anemia will display the typical symptoms of anemia, which are fatigue, pale skin and nails, jaundice and shortness of breath. This type of anemia is also accompanied by severe episodes of pain due to the blockages in the blood vessels, which are termed sickle cell crises. The frequency of these crises varies between persons. Those who are heterozygous, and therefore only develop sickle cell trait, usually remain symptomless (NIH).

DIAGNOSIS

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"Sickle Cell Anemia Is a Genetic, Life-Long."  Essaytown.com.  November 2, 2007.  Accessed June 1, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/sickle-cell-anemia-genetic-life-long/4979601.