Sickle Cell Disease

3 Things About Sickle Cell Disease You Never Knew

Sickle Cell Disease is a blood disorder that affects your blood cells.

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Sickle Cell Disease is a blood disorder that affects your blood cells. So, typically everyone's blood cells are a circular shape. People with Sickle Cell Disease have a bunch of blood cells that are shaped like a half letter C. That's why its called "Sickle" Cell Disease because the cells are literally shaped like a sickle. This can cause major side effects and long-term health complications.

1. It's a genetical disease.

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Sickle Cell Disease does not come from viruses or bacteria. You may be more prone to catching different infections, but it does not come originally from that. Everyone of course has DNA. A normal person's dna coding is GAG, CTC. For the RNA it is GAG. A person who has Sickle Cell Disease has those genes mutated. It shows as GTG, CAC for DNA and GUG for the RNA. This can easily be passed down from parents to their offspring. If both parents have the sickle cell "trait" there is a huge risk for their child to have the actual disease. If one parent has the disease or trait and the other one doesn't, the child most likely won't get the disease they will only inherit the trait of it. It is very critical to make sure if you have the trait or disease to be careful who you would be with and double check to see if they have a trait or the disease as well.

2. Other regions besides Africa carry it.

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A lot of the disease does have a lot to do with ethnicity. A lot of this disease originated from Africa but other regions such as India, South America, Central America, Saudi Arabia, and in the Caribbeans also carry it as well. You would hear more about it in African Americans because that is the most concentrated area that it is in.

3. There are four types of sickle cell disease.

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Not a lot of people know this but there are actually different versions of the sickle cell disease. The first one is called Hemoglobin SS. This one is considered the worst type to have and the symptoms are at the highest. This comes from the hemoglobin S gene from both parents. The second one down is the hemoglobin SC. This one comes from one parent having the hemoglobin C gene and the other one having the S gene. The symptoms of this type are similar but a little less than SS. The third one down is SB+ thalassemia. The cause of this is from the Hb S gene and this causes red blood cells to appear smaller because of the beta protein not being produced. Hemoglobin SB 0 thalassemia is the last type of sickle cell. This one is more severe compared to the Hb SS occasionally.

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Being Sick In College Is A Real Struggle

Being sick in college is definitely not as fun as having a sick day in middle school or high school.

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Something that I have had to deal with multiple times these past two semesters is being sick while in school. It can be a real pain especially depending on what type of sickness it is. I have had tonsillitis, mono, and I'm pretty sure I also had the flu.

Being at school and away from home can make being sick worse because there is nobody to take of you such as your parents. Another thing is having to make the decision to get the rest that your body needs in order to feel better or staying on top of your assignments to avoid falling behind. My parents will always tell me to get a good night's sleep so my body can feel better the next day. However, sometimes I will feel more stress if my work isn't getting done and I feel like I'm falling behind and leaving things to get done in the last minute.

Currently, I am sick now and the past few days haven't been easy, but I still attended all my classes so I wouldn't miss any material or assignments that were given. I usually end up feeling the worst at night when trying to fall asleep, and by that time the doctors are not present at the student health center. Even though my health is important I usually don't like taking too much time out of my day to go to the health center to see a doctor. Some days I don't really have much free time before the evening.

I don't believe I have been over-exerting myself, but I don't want to just stay in my bed all day and sleep, even though that may be what is best for me. Most professors will be understanding if I email them and provide them a doctor's note as well, but I also just got back from a conference where I had to miss two days of classes next week.

I have been trying to keep hydrated so that way my body can fight the sickness. Also, I have been told if you stay hydrated you can flush the virus out of your body quicker.

Eating can also be a pain when you have a sore throat, for the past couple of days I have tried to have some soup in order to help. Most meals I would have to force myself to eat something of substance in order to give my body some type of energy in order to get through the day. It's also never fun not being able to breathe out of your nostrils. If it wasn't my nose being stuffed, then it would be constantly runny so there was no winning that battle.

Looking back, I probably should have done a bit more work over spring break in order to get ahead in the case that something like this would happen. I wanted my break to be exactly that, a break. After not being home for a few months I just wanted some time off to relax.

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