Sickle Cell Anemia: Characteristics, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sickle cell anemia is one of the most common hereditary diseases associated with a violation of the structure of hemoglobin, which can lead to a host of various complications. People with this condition suffer from typical anemia attacks and frequent clogging of tiny capillaries in any part of the body. Problems with capillaries in large organs can significantly complicate a person’s life, and in childhood, this disease is hazardous due to the possibility of infection and sepsis. Therefore, it is imperative to research, develop and distribute the means to combat this disease to make life easier for people.

This disease’s general characteristics and symptoms were known to me even before the study of specially dedicated sickle cell anemia. However, I did not study this topic much, so I was not interested in the means of treatment and the specifics of the use of drugs. Thanks to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, I found the results of a reasonably new study focused on the use of hydroxyurea in children with this type of anemia. The work of Reeves et al. (2019), “Hydroxyurea use among children with sickle cell anemia,” explores the use of this drug, commonly used to reduce the frequency of pain attacks, in the context of anemia. Because hydroxyurea increases the amount of hemoglobin in the blood, its use in cases of sickle cell disease can be highly beneficial.

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The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute most likely were guided by this principle when they released updated guidelines in 2014 that suggested the use of hydroxyurea for children as young as nine months old (Reeves et al., 2019). Given the danger of this disease specifically for children, such a step looks very promising. However, until the moment I read the article, I did not know about such a recommendation. Perhaps this is partly due to the central fact discussed in the article. According to the study, as of 2018, only 18 percent of children received the necessary treatment (Reeves et al., 2019). This situation is depressing, so the authors call for more attention to this issue since this drug can significantly improve the lives of many children. Since I was unaware of the new drugs for sickle cell disease, I did not know of this issue either. However, now knowing this, I will pay more attention to the features of this condition, continuing to study this topic further.

Reference

Reeves, S. L., Jary, H. K., Gondhi, J. P., Raphael, J. L., Lisabeth, L. D., & Dombkowski, K. J. (2019). Hydroxyurea use among children with sickle cell anemia. Pediatric blood & cancer, 66(6), e27721. Web.

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