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Answer to your Health Question

Question (10/10/2011):

Title: A 6-year-old child suffering from sickle cell.

Sir,

My Cousin is just 6 year old and suffering from sickle cell.

Please give me guidance or any information for total cure of this.

Thanking you,

Haresh


Answer:

Dear Haresh,

Sickle cell anemia, sickle cell disease or drepanocitosis is a hemoglobinopathy, a disease that affects hemoglobin, a protein that is part of red blood cells and is responsible for oxygen transport.

Apart from bone marrow transplant, there is no known cure for sickle cell anemia. Bone marrow transplantation is a complex procedure and is not an option for everyone, at least for now.

For the transplant, the child needs a compatible bone marrow donor with a low risk of rejection. Still, there are significant risks in the procedure and there is always the risk of rejection.

Even without a cure, children with sickle cell anemia may have a relatively normal life.

Penicillin may help to prevent serious infections caused by pneumococcus, the bacteria that most commonly cause sepsis (a severe blood infection), meningitis and pneumonia.

Children with sickle cell anemia usually require two daily doses of penicillin, until they are at least 5 years of age.

Most doctors also prescribe daily vitamin supplements to children with sickle cell anemia. Folic acid in particular can help to produce new red blood cells.

In addition, children with sickle cell anemia who develop severe complications such as acute chest syndrome, severe anemia, or stroke, they may receive transfusions of red cells.

Hydroxyurea is a relatively new drug for patients with sickle cell anemia, although its use in children is still under study.

Hydroxyurea increases fetal hemoglobin percentage, which interferes with the process of deformation of red blood cells making them more rigid. This effect helps to reduce the number and intensity of painful episodes and other complications.


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