SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Sickle cell disease is a medical disorder affecting the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Normal red blood cells are round-shaped. However in sickle cell disease, as the name connotes the cells are shaped like a crescent moon or sickle. Sickle-shaped red blood cells don’t last very long compared to the normal ones, and can often cause blockage in blood vessels. This will often cause pain and organ damage. Since the sickle-shaped red blood cells don’t last very long, it would cause anemia. The signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease are often caused by anemia.
Symptoms of anemia include:
- shortness of breath,
- coldness in the extremities
- rapid breakdown of red blood cells due to its sickle shape can also cause jaundice or yellowish discoloration in the eyes and skin.
- organ damage is also common, due to the blood not being able to carry much-needed oxygen for the organs to function. Common organs affected are the lungs, kidneys, spleen, and brain
- slow growth development in children.
- pulmonary hypertension
Sickle cell disease is inherited and not caused by any outside factors. In order to inherit the disease, both parents should be a carrier of the mutated gene.
There is no recognized treatment yet, however, scientists are now considering bone marrow transplants, gene therapy and the use of new medicines. In general treatment of sickle cell anemia focuses on controlling and managing the symptoms. Folic acid intake is also recommended since it helps in making new red blood cells.
Other treatments are also included to manage the complications of sickle cell anemia.
- dialysis for kidney disease
- gallbladder removal
- surgery for vision problems
- proper care for leg ulcers
- use of antibiotics for children with sickle cell disease
- the use of iron-reducing drugs in the body
If you think you are suffering from Sickle Cell Disease you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Sickle Cell Disease as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).