Sickle Cell Anemia: A Life Threatening Disease Essay

1339 words - 5 pages

“About one in 12 African Americans, a much larger proportion than in most populations, is heterozygous for Sickle-Cell Anemia” (Biggs 323). This is an extraordinarily large number of African Americans. Especially considering the fact that Sickle-Cell Anemia is a co dominant disorder (Biggs 324). People who have come from or live in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea can have the disease as well. This disease affects a huge population that is increasing everyday. That is why it is important to know how Sickle-Cell Anemia is genetically inherited, what its symptoms are, and how it can be treated. Sickle-Cell Anemia, a co dominant disease, causes ones body to generate an inadequate amount of red blood cells, but it can be inhibited and favorably treated.
Sickle-Cell Anemia occurs when one inherits the trait from each of the parents or is a carrier for it, and there is a lack of oxygen (Bryant). According to Genetics and Inherited Conditions, "approximately one in six-hundred babies born in the United States to African American parents have sickle-cell disease" (Berman). Considering the amount of people one would see every day, this is a substantial number. Since Sickle-Cell Anemia is co dominant there are people who have the Sickle-Cell trait, and there are those who completely have Sickle-Cell Anemia. According to the Biology book, "Co dominant alleles is a pattern where phenotypes of both homozgote parents are produced in heterozygous offspring so that both alleles are equally expressed" (Biggs 1120). This means that neither sickle cells or red blood cells are dominant over each other. If one is a carrier for the trait that means that the person has sickle cells along with red blood cells in his body. This is one reason why Sickle-Cell Anemia is so common. If someone who had Sickle-Cell Anemia married someone who did not and they had kids there would be 100% chance of their child being a carrier for it. If two people who were both carriers for the disease had kids there kid would have a 25% chance of having Sickle-Cell Anemia, a 50% chance of being a carrier for it, and a 25% chance of not having it at all.
The signs of Sickle-Cell Anemia generally start appearing twelve or more weeks after an infant is born (Bryant). When a baby is born the nurse takes a blood sample which tells whether one has Sickle-Cell Anemia or not. The parents can choose to have their baby tested before birth by drawing blood from the umbilical cord (Bryant). Early evidence of Sickle-Cell Anemia begins to altar the conditions of the affected ones life. One who has the disease can only do minimal physical activity and must take antibiotics daily. Because of the sickle cell’s long and rigid shape they cannot travel quickly through the blood vessels. The slow movement of the sickle cells causes oxygen flow to be lower then normal which inhibits those with Sickle-Cell Anemia from participating in physically demanding activities. Some...

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