Sickle Cell Anemia





Sickle cell anemia is a severe hemolytic anemia that occurs in persons who inherit the defective gene involved from both parents. This condition is characterized by an uncharacteristically low level of health red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

In normal situations, the red blood cells are disc-shaped and round, allowing them to pass easily through the blood vessels. When a person has sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells are shaped like crescents or sickles, so they become stiff and sticky. These sickle-shaped red blood cells do not live as long as the normal ones, thus causing the anemia. Obstruction of the blood vessels can also occur due to these deformed red blood cells, bringing about bouts of pain and possible tissue damage.

Sickle cell anemia is a fairly common condition especially among individuals of African, Mediterranean, Arabian and Hispanic descent. In the United States, roughly 1 in 500 African-Americans and 1 in every 1,000to 1,500 Hispanic Americans are born with this condition annually.



Sickle cell anemia is caused by an alteration in the gene that commands the body to generate hemoglobin. This gene is passed from one generation to the other through family members who carry the sickle cell trait.

In order to become affected by this condition, an individual must receive the trait from both parents.  Those who obtained the gene from only one parent are said to have the sickle cell trait. This means that while they may not manifest the symptoms typical of sickle cell anemia, they are carriers of the trait that predisposes the condition, and can possibly pass on the defective gene to their offspring.


Signs and Symptoms

Despite being present by the time a child is born, sickle cell anemia do not usually manifest signs and symptoms until they are at least 4 months old. Pain and anemia are the most common indicators of this condition.

Signs and symptoms associated with anemia in sickle cell anemia includes dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, pallor or jaundice, cold hands and feet, loss of appetite, irritability, general body weakness, and easy fatigability.

Sickle cell crisis is another common symptom of the condition. This is characterized by sudden spells of pain felt throughout the body, especially around the joints, bones, abdomen, and/or lungs. This pain is due to the obstruction of the blood vessels, and it can possibly cause organ damage if there is insufficient blood/oxygen supply to a certain part of the body. The occurrence of a sickle cell crisis may be precipitated by dehydration, infection, trauma, strenuous physical exertion, extreme fatigue, exposure to the cold, hypoxia (low levels of oxygen), surgery, and pregnancy.



Treatment for sickle cell anemia is based on the symptoms being manifested. Treatment goal is usually to manage symptoms and treat or prevent complications from happening.

In treating pain, analgesics of the appropriate type are usually prescribed, along with plenty of fluids and rest. Oxygen therapy or blood transfusions may be recommended for those who have bouts of severe anemia. And antibiotics may also be given for those who have been exposed to infections.

Individualswitha severe form of the disease may be treated with a bone marrow transplant from a healthy, compatible source to encourage the generation of healthy red blood cells.


Disability Tax Credits for Sickle Cell Anemia

Children with sickle cell anemia may be able to enjoy the stability of a lifetime disability savings plan from the Canadian Revenue Agency amounting to a maximum of $90,000 in government grants and bonds. If your child has this condition, you can file for disability tax credits with the aid of a properly attested disability certificate from a qualified physician. To know more about disability tax credits for sickle cell anemia, call on the HandyTax hotline now. Our agents are more than willing to assist you.