Study: Kids With Sickle Cell Receives Therapy And Screening For Stroke in US

Research published on Tuesday found that too few American children with sickle cell anemia receive the necessary stroke screening.

The Study

According to the study, less than half of participants receive the screening, and only around half, or fewer receive a pain- and anemia-relieving medication. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the study, which also advocated for increased screening and care.

One form of sickle cell illness, sickle cell anemia, is a significant factor in pediatric strokes. According to Dr. Karen Remley of the CDC, the illness can cause problems and reduce life expectancy by more than 20 years.

She stated that “these consequences are controllable — not inevitable.”

Sickle Cell

Sickle cell anemia is one of the inherited illnesses referred to as sickle cell disease. The structure of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to every body part, is impacted.

Red blood cells are generally spherical and flexible, allowing them to pass through veins easily. Sickle cell anemia is characterized by red blood cells having crescent-shaped or sickle-shaped hemoglobin. These sickle cells also form a tough, sticky coating that may slow or prevent blood flow.

Most persons with sickle cell anemia are incurable. Treatments can reduce suffering and aid in avoiding disease-related consequences.

Symptoms

Symptoms of sickle cell anemia commonly appear around the age of six months. They can change through time and vary from one person to another. These are a few of the symptoms and warning signs:

Anemia: Sickle cells quickly break down and die. About 120 days should pass before red blood cells need to be replaced. However, sickle cells, which ordinarily die in 10 to 20 days, lead to a deficiency in red blood cells (anemia). If there aren’t enough red blood cells, the body struggles to get enough oxygen, which leads to fatigue.

Periods of discomfort: Recurrent periods of severe pain, also referred to as pain crises, are one of the main symptoms of sickle cell anemia. Sickle-shaped red blood cells blocks the blood flow to your joints, abdomen, and chest, causing pain.

The pain’s intensity and duration may vary from a few hours to many days. Some people only have a few pain crises a year. Some individuals have twelve or more every year. A major pain crisis necessitates a hospital stay.

Some adults and teenagers with sickle cell anemia could feel chronic pain, which can be brought on by illnesses including ulcers, bone, joint deterioration, and other things.

Swelling of the feet and hands: Sickle-shaped red blood cells obstructing blood flow to the hands and feet are to blame for the edema.

Many infections: Sickle cells may harm the liver, rendering it more vulnerable to infections. Infants and children with sickle cell anemia are regularly given antibiotics and vaccinations to help them avoid potentially lethal diseases like pneumonia.

Delayed puberty or development: The oxygen and nutrients the body needs for growth are delivered by red blood cells. Insufficient healthy red blood cells can prevent teens from going through puberty and slow the growth of newborns and children.

Vision issues: Sickle cells can clog the tiny blood arteries that supply the eyes. This can harm the retina, the eye area responsible for processing visual pictures, and cause vision issues.

The Cause

Sickle cell disease is triggered by a mutation in the gene that instructs the body to manufacture the iron-rich protein known as hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin allows red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to every body region. The hemoglobin in sickle cell anemia causes the red blood cells to be rigid, sticky, and abnormally shaped.

The sickle cell gene must be carried by both parents and passed both mutant copies to the child for the child to be affected.

If just one parent carries the sickle cell gene, the child will receive the sickle cell characteristic. Due to the presence of two normal and one altered hemoglobin gene, individuals with the sickle cell trait can manufacture both normal and sickle cell hemoglobin.

They may have some sickle cells in their blood, but they often don’t exhibit any symptoms. However, they can carry the gene to their offspring because they have the condition.

Research Result

Three thousand three hundred kids with sickle cell anemia participated in the study in 2019. To monitor blood flow and determine their risk for stroke, it was discovered that 47% of children aged 2 to 9 and 38% of those aged 10 to 16 years underwent an ultrasound scan. Those who are at high risk may benefit from blood transfusions.

The research also revealed that 38% of younger children and 53% of older children received hydroxyurea, a medication that can lessen episodes of excruciating pain and associated consequences.

Gloria Flynt

I am a Research Content Specialist in Update.co.ke. I have been working with update.co.ke for over 6 months. Update.co.ke is a digital platform that provides news and analysis on business, economy, technology and entrepreneurship in worldwide. I love reading and writing about anything that has to do with science, technology, and developments in the digital world.

Related Articles

Back to top button