Sickle Cell Warriors
TYPES OF HEMOGLOBIN AND HOW IT RELATES TO SICKLE CELL ANEMIA
Fetal Hemoglobin- Did you know there was such a thing as fetal hemoglobin?
This hemoglobin is present at birth and gradually decreases as we age. The presence of fetal hemoglobin protects newborns as their hemoglobin transitions to higher levels of “adult hemoglobin” or the genetic code for hemoglobin that has been passed down from their parents. For children diagnosed with sickle cell disease at birth this fetal hemoglobin is vital in carrying rich deposits of oxygen throughout the body.
The level of fetal hemoglobin a protein present In the blood is monitored by hematologists. Modern treatment for sickle cell anemia involves maintaining/ raising the level of fetal hemoglobin present in the body in an attempt to mimic levels of hemoglobin F that protects young infants from birth to 4-9 months before the level of fetal hemoglobin declines to an insufficient level in the body.
Ex: Interceding to raise the level of fetal hemoglobin present in children and adults diagnosed with SS an approach that approach that is clinically under trial and has seen improvement in trials with young children when introducing hydroxyurea from 6-9 months.
WHAT IS HEMOGLOBIN’S ROLE IN THE BODY?
Hemoglobin molecules carry oxygen (o2) throughout the human body, through the blood stream where o2 is deposited to tissues for use.
The Hard Truth
million people world wide have sickle cell trait.
1 to 3
million Americans have sickle cell trait. With 8-10% being of African descent.
Less than 200,000 cases of sickle cell disease are diagnosed every year. Making Sickle cell disease rare but also one of the oldest known genetic blood disorders.
So why don't we hear more about it?
WHAT DOES HEMOGLOBIN HAVE TO DO WITH SICKLE CELL DISEASE
When HbS molecules lose deposit oxygen to tissues, they begin to form chains, and every molecule that continues to join the chain, form rod shapes in the red blood cell. These rods cause the red blood cell to change shape and become a sickle shaped red blood cell, void of oxygen and in its rigid form it is unable to easily pass-through blood vessels. The sickle shape can stanch blood flow, ultimately reducing the delivery of oxygen rich nutrients through the body and sometimes to vital organs.
The action of this, is what causes pain for those diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia.
Termed Pain Crisis