AyuKarma Ayurveda

Sickle cell anemia

What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickel cell anaemia is a genetic disease of haemoglobin, in the red blood cells, the prime work of which is to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the entire body. Those with sickle cell anaemia have a typical hemoglobin molecule called hemoglobin S, which indicates that red blood cells are distorted into a crescent shape.

Normally, RBCs are the shape of a disc, giving them the flexibility to travel even through the tiniest of blood vessels. However, when you have sickle cell anaemia, RBCs may become sickle-shaped and break down prematurely. This makes them sticky and inflexible to move around the blood vessels. As a result of this, blood may not reach different parts of the body, causing harm to the cells and tissues.

The sickle-shaped red blood cells:

  • Obstruct blood vessels, causing a flare-up of pain and oxygen deficiency in tissues and organs.
  • May confined themselves to the spleen where they are got rid of. The body may not replace the lost cells so abruptly. As a result of this, the body is left with too few red blood cells, a condition which is called anaemia.

Sickle cell anaemia is an autosomal recessive disorder. A person needs two copies of the gene to have SCD. In case, if they have only one cope, they are said to be experiencing sickle cell trait.

Types

Hemoglobin has two alpha chains and two beta chains. Different types of genetic mutations may result in different types of sickle cell anaemia.

Hemoglobin SS disease

Hemoglobin SS occurs when you inherit two copies of the hemoglobin S gene from both mother and father. It is known as hemoglobin or Hb SS.

Hemoglobin SC disease

The characteristic of this form of sickle cell anaemia is that you inherit one Hb C gene from one parent and Hb S from another. It is less severe though the signs are similar to Hb SS.

Hemoglobin SB+ (beta) thalassemia

This affects beta-globin gene production. The size of the red blood cell is reduced because the body produces less beta protein. The signs do not appear to be severe.

Hemoglobin SB 0 (Beta-zero) thalassemia

It is characterized by the beta-globin gene with signs similar to Hb SS anaemia. However, the signs of beta zero thalassemias appear to be more severe.

Hemoglobin SD, hemoglobin SE, and hemoglobin SO

The rarest forms of sickle cell anaemia usually do not have severe signs.

Sickle cell trait

Those who inherit a mutated gene from one parent are said to have sickle cell traits. The symptoms may or may not appear.

Signs

The onsets of signs can only be experienced around in the early days of infancy. They may vary from individuals to individuals and change with age. The signs and symptoms may usually include:

  • Anaemia: Sickle cells may break easily and fall out. This results in too few red blood cells in the body. Normally, red blood cells have a life span of 120 days before they are actually replaced. But sickle cells die within 10 to 20 days, creating a scarcity of red blood cells.
  • Fatigue: If you don’t have enough red blood cells, the body is deprived of oxygen, leaving you exhausted and bereaved of energy.
  • Pain: Episodes of pain are very common in individuals with sickle cell anaemia. This happens because of blockage of blood flow through tiny blood vessels in your chest, joints, etc. Joint pain is slightly common in those with SCD. The pain may be mild to severe and may last for up to a few weeks. Severe pain may also call for hospitalization.
  • Swelling: It is common to experience swelling because of restricted blood flow to the organs.
  • Delayed growth or puberty: SCD may not keep up with the body’s oxygen and nutrition needs. A shortage of RBCs may result in delayed growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
  • Recurrent Infections: Spleen is an organ in the body that has white blood cells to fight infection-causing bacteria. SCD affects the spleen, so you are more prone to get life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia.
  • Poor Vision. The blood vessels that run to the eyes may also become damaged. As a result, the retina may not function well, and so a person gets vision issues.

Other signs may include:

  • Pale skin
  • Yellow tint to the skin or whites of the eyes
  • Signs of a stroke

Causes

Sickle cell anaemia is a result of genetic mutations that allows the body to produce iron-rich compounds that make red blood cells and enable them to carry oxygen from the lungs to the entire body.

For a person to have SCD, both the parents must have the genes to pass it on to their child.

For those with sickle cell traits, the child has genes only from one parent. Though there is a defect in the genes, people with sickle cell traits can produce hemoglobin and sickle cell hemoglobin.

Their blood may have some sickle cells but does not experience the signs linked to sickle cell anaemia. They may only pass the genes to pass on to their children.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Sickle Cell Anaemia

In Ayurveda, any ailment is related to an imbalance of doshas or life energies in the body. The subsequent reason for this condition is the abnormality in the sperm and ovum or ova. Beejdosha triggers deviation in the functioning of Raktavaha srotas of the body because of which platelets don't get typical characteristics.

So the aim of ayurvedic treatment is to help the body tissues and prompt the production of hemoglobin through ayurvedic medicines.

During the procedure, it is also assured that the body is getting rid of wastes, and the doshas are balanced to offer wholesome health.

Along with oral medications and therapeutic procedures, a proper eating regimen is recommended. The treatment is also based on controlling the bone marrow capacity to confined unhealthy hemogobin.

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