Sickle Cell Disease

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					            SICKLE CELL DISEASE

Cheryl Bitting
What is Sickle Cell Disease?
   Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is an inherited blood
    disorder that affects red blood cells
   People with SCD have blood cells that contain
    mostly hemoglobin*S, an abnormal type of
   There are several types of SCD: the most common
    are Sickle Cell Anemia (SS) and Sickle Hemoglobin
    C disease (SC)
      What’s the problem with Sickle Cells?

   Sickle-shaped cells block small blood vessels,
    allowing less blood to reach different parts of the
   Abnormal blood flow damages tissue causing the
    complications of SCD
           What happens in the body?

Organ or tissue involved   Problem

Kidney                     bed-wetting, blood in the urine, kidney failure

Hands & Feet               Swelling and pain

Spleen                     increased risk for serious infections
                           Splenic sequestration (large amount of body's blood pooled in the spleen)
Lungs                      Pneumonia, Acute chest syndrome

Skin                       Slow - healing sores on legs and ankles

Bones                      Infection, Bone damage

Brain                      Stroke, Headache

Penis                      Painful unexpected erection

Eyes                       Vision problems

Liver                      Increased size, Gallstones, Gives yellow color to eyes and skin
What is a sickle cell crisis?
   A sickle cell crisis happens when sickled red blood cells
    block small blood vessels that carry blood to the bones.
   This causes pain that can begin suddenly and last several
    hours to several days. The person might have pain in their
    back, knees, legs, arms, chest or stomach.
   The pain can be throbbing, sharp, dull or stabbing.
   How often and how bad the pain gets varies a lot from
    person to person and from crisis to crisis.
What is the treatment or cure for SCD?

   The only cure for Sickle Cell Disease is bone marrow
    transplants, but it is risky and has lots of
   Some promising treatments: hydroxyurea, blood
    transfusions, pain relievers, etc.
   Young children under 5 years take penicillin twice
    daily to prevent pneumonia.
Who is affected by Sickle Cell Disease?

   SCD affects approximately 72,000 people in the US
   Predominantly African-American (1 in 500 births)
   Hispanic Americans (1 in 1000-1400 births)
   SCD is also present in Portuguese, Spanish, French Corsicans,
    Sardinians, Sicilians, mainland Italians, Greeks, Turks, and
    Cypriots. Sickle Cell Disease also appears in African countries,
    Middle Eastern countries and Asia.
    What should a teacher do?

   Be informed about Sickle Cell Disease
   Anticipate more missed school days
   Allow extra water and bathroom breaks
   Pay attention to temperature control
   Be aware of the need to rest
   Don’t assume lesser intelligence
   Student may need special services
   Know the symptoms of strokes
What are the symptoms of strokes?

Sickle cell disease is one of the few conditions that can cause stroke
(brain injury) in children. Notify the child's family at once if any of the
following symptoms appear without another explanation:
   Difficulty with memory

   Difficulty using a hand, a leg, or one side of the face due to muscle

   Numbness or tingling

   Difficulty with balance

   Difficulty with vision or hearing

   Difficulty speaking or understanding what other people are saying

   Unusual headache
For more information:
   Duke Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center
   Sickle Cell Disease: A Resource for the Educator
   NC Sickle Syndrome Program
   Dr. Spock - Understanding Sickle Cell Disease: Instructions for Teachers,1510,5176,00.html
   Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc

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