Having sickle cell in my family and seeing firsthand all the health complications that come with it prompted me to learn about what other common blood disorders there were out there and how SCD varies in comparison.
Blood disorders can affect any of the 3 main components of blood namely:
- The Red Blood Cells: which carry oxygen to the body's tissues
- The White Blood Cells: which fight infections
- Platelets: which help blood to clot
They can also affect the liquid portion of the blood called plasma.
Types of Blood Disorders include:
2. Hemophilia (which is a bleeding disorder)
3. Blood Clots
4. Blood Cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma
Sickle Cell Disease aka Sickle Cell Anemia is a group of inherited blood disorders and people who have it have an abnormal protein in their red blood cells. It is the most common inherited blood disorder with the Hemoglobin SS being the most severe type. There are also rare types of the disease and where SCA affects the red blood cells, other disorders like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma affect the white blood cells. Hemophilia, like SCA is also an inherited genetic disorder and it is a condition in which your blood doesn't clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins. All of these blood disorders share the common theme of affecting the red and white blood cells that perform crucial functions in the body. They can be on mild or severe on the body and treatment of these disorders are almost always aimed at management because even in the event of a cure, infections may occur at any time that could lead to death if not addressed immediately.
Furthermore, because our blood serves to carry oxygen and nutrients to our tissues while pushing out waste like carbon dioxide via the red and white blood cells and platelets, any obstruction of its primary functions could affect major organs of the body such as the kidneys, the liver and bone marrow. The variety of blood cell disorders mean that your experience of living with one of these conditions may vary greatly from someone else and early diagnosis + treatment are the best ways to ensure that you live a full life. Diagnosis includes several tests that will be ordered by your doctor and probably a bone marrow biopsy to see if there are abnormal cells developing in your marrow.
Finally and most important is to find a support group or counselor that can help you deal with any emotional stress that result from having one of these disorders. These are serious conditions for anyone to be dealing with so a strong support system can not be over-emphasized.
Thank you for coming back today and I hope these posts on sickle cell help you have a bit more information on the disease. Sometimes I feel like if they had only broken things down this simply for me back in school, I would have probably paid more attention in class...LOL!