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What is Sickle Cell Disease?

A common query from people is, “What is sickle cell disease?”

People frequently don’t realise they have the condition.

Sickle cell disease, commonly referred to as sickle cell anaemia, is a blood disorder that causes anaemia, or a deficiency of red blood cells, and periodic pain.

Some of the haemoglobin (a molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to other regions of the body) does not function properly in people with sickle cell disease. Instead, some haemoglobin takes the form of long, rod-like structures that give the red blood cells their sickle-shaped and stiff shape.

These cells may obstruct small blood vessels, depriving some organs or tissues of adequate oxygenation. When this occurs, it may result in organ or tissue damage, excruciating pain episodes, or other potentially dangerous medical complications.

What causes Sickle Cell Disease?

Blood Cells in the veins

An error in the gene that instructs the body how to generate haemoglobin is the root cause of sickle cell disease. The faulty gene instructs the body to produce the abnormal hemoglobin, which causes the red blood cells to be malformed. Sickle cell anaemia will affect children who inherit copies of the faulty gene from both parents. Children that only inherit the faulty sickle haemoglobin gene from one parent do not develop sickle cell disease, but they do carry the genetic trait. Sickle cell trait carriers typically don’t exhibit any symptoms, but they may pass on the sickle haemoglobin gene to their children.

Studies reveal that children with one sickle haemoglobin gene and those who carried the sickle cell trait had a survival advantage in locations where malaria was a problem. Unlike children who had normal haemoglobin genes, these children survived the malaria epidemics, grew up, had their own children, and passed the sickle haemoglobin gene on to them.

The sickle cell mutation spread as populations migrated to neighbouring Mediterranean regions, deeper into the Middle East, and ultimately into the Western Hemisphere. The sickle haemoglobin gene no longer offers a survival advantage in the United States and other nations where malaria is not a concern. The children of the carrier, however, may face a major risk since they could inherit two abnormal sickle haemoglobin genes and develop sickle cell anaemia.


What is Sickle Cell Trait?

One sickle haemoglobin-producing gene inherited from one parent and one normal haemoglobin gene inherited from the other parent make up sickle cell trait. Type A haemoglobin is described as normal. Sickle haemoglobin called S. Sickle Cell trait is the presence of haemoglobin AS on the haemoglobin electrophoresis. It will not result in sickle cell disease. Another prevalent haemoglobin characteristic is AE, followed by AC.




A selection of video resources which help to further explain the condition and the lives of those survivors.

Non-Medical Treatment

Learning how to relax using breathing techniques

Relaxed (Diaphragmatic) Breathing

Relaxed Breathing

Relaxation exercises can help you feel much calmer and relieve tension and worry while also improving sleep. These methods combine mental and physical exercises to calm the body and mind and generate feelings of relief.

Such a strategy can be regularly practised and used to great advantage before, after, and even during a sickle cell crisis. Relaxed breathing is the foundation of good relaxation. You’ll be better able to rest more deeply if you do this. You can keep expanding your relaxation routine once you’ve mastered relaxed breathing.

We rarely give our breathing a second thought because it comes naturally to us. The ability to breathe via the diaphragm can help to calm you, which is good for your physical and mental health. Most people eventually start breathing by moving their shoulders and/or chest.

But if you observe a newborn breathe, you’ll notice that they exhale by moving their tummy, which is the easiest and most effective technique to take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

The muscle that regulates breathing is the diaphragm. It is a dome-shaped muscle that is located above the abdominal cavity and beneath the lungs. The diaphragm flattens as a breath is taken, giving the lungs more space to expand with air. The diaphragm assumes its arched position when the lungs have expelled all of their air. Although breathing is a natural process, with practice, the diaphragm’s movements can be brought under conscious control. There are many advantages to mastering diaphragm control and breathing techniques.

Lying on your back is the best position to start relaxing your breathing. You can attempt it sitting and standing after you get used to breathing in this position and have mastered this technique.

You should frequently engage in quick bursts of diaphragmatic breathing. Initially, approximately 10-15 times per day for 1-2 minutes each. Try to practise in a variety of positions, such as lying down, sitting, standing, on a bus, while walking, or in the car. It can become quick and simple to reduce tension by using relaxed breathing techniques.

Method: Place one hand on your breastbone and the other on your stomach, just above your belly button. Watch to see which hand is moving more when you breathe in and out? While breathing, make an effort to get the hand on your tummy to move more naturally.

Imagine a balloon filling up with air each time you inhale, and deflating when you exhale.

Make sure you breathe naturally, gently, and slowly. Reduce your breath intake and slow down if you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy.