Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle Cell Anemia : A Tribal Disease
Sickle cell anemia, where the red cells shaped like a moon crescent block blood vessels and cause agonizing pain in the victim
is actually a worldwide problem.
African blacks, Middle eastern tribes of Saudi Arabia and hill tribes of India all have this disease.
Our patients come from the Nilgiris where the predominant Badagas, and the others like Irulas, kurumbas and thodas all have this problem.
Vokkaligas and a few other communities also have sickle cell disease.
In the homozygous state, where both parents have the defective gene, it is a serious problem, whereas in the heterozygous state, where only one parent carries the defective gene, the disease is very mild.
Sickle cell anemia causes a lot of medical problems right from severe bone and joint pains, jaundice, abdomen pain due to gall baldder stones, bone weakness and fractures, infections, heart and lung complications and clots in different parts of the body.
In the female,
there may be abortions and inability to bear children.
The spleen may totally lose its function causing impaired immunity, leading to repeated infections.
Vaccinations are vital in patients with
Sickle Cell Anemia.
Sickle patients who become pregnant also need good medical care to keep up growth of the unborn baby by maintaining adequate haemoglobin levels.