Sickle Cell Anemia Is Most Dominant In African Americans Than Any Other Race.

1370 words - 5 pages

Bridget Dawkins was complaining of hip pain. Weeks later she would have a fever, and chest pain. While playing basketball with her neighbors she collapsed. The doctors at the local hospital told Bridget's mother, Shawna, that their daughter was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Surprisingly the doctor made a comment that people of African descent have the highest chances of having sickle cell anemia. Shawna wondered; "what exactly is sickle cell anemia? How is it caused? Why do African Americans have the highest chance of having sickle cell anemia only?" The point of the matter is that sickle cell anemia is most dominant in the African American race than any other race.The name sickle cell anemia is not far from the shape a cell takes when a person has this disease. The disease itself is an inherited blood disorder which deals with hemoglobin. In our bodies every red blood cell contains around 200-300 hemoglobin molecules. Hemoglobin serves as the most important and complex component of a red blood cell. Its role is to bind oxygen in exchange for carbon dioxide in the lungs. The red blood cells that are now oxygenated release oxygen in the exchange for carbon dioxide to the body's tissue. An important use of oxygen lies in the mitochondria which is the power house of the cell. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen in order to nourish tissues and sustain life. There shape is small and have flexible inner tubes. This shape serves many advantages. Among them are a large surface area that absorbs oxygen and carbon dioxide. The flexibility makes it easy to move through capillaries and tiny blood vessels which join the arteries and veins. "Sickle cell disease occurs in genetic abnormalities in hemoglobin." (Gillie January 2004: 12)Hemoglobin A is a normal molecule in the red blood cells when a person has sickle cell anemia they get a different hemoglobin. This molecule is called Hemoglobin S. The difference between these two molecules is in a protein that has an amino acid chain. In a normal hemoglobin there are 2 alpha and 2 beta chains. When a person has hemoglobin S the 4 chain tetramer has a substitute glutamic acid in both the beta chains. A slight difference can cause trauma. "The destructive nature of the sickle hemoglobin develops when it loses oxygen." (Harris March 2001:17) When the molecule becomes deoxygenated it forms polymers which are best described as rigid rods. These polymers distort the red blood cells and gives them the sickle shape. This change called polymerization is the leading change to sickle cell anemia. The polymers don't form as one strand but as "strand that forms together." In appearance they seem to have a strong bond but in reality they a have a weak interaction. Hemoglobin becomes polymerized when it release oxygen. These cause the membranes in the cell to distort which damages the cell.Genetically if we are looking at this disease we known that in our bodies' chromosomes are found in the genes. "DNA...

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