Many of us grew up believing that, people who have the sickle cell trait commonly refer to as Carriers had the powers of procreation smiling upon them when they were conceived. This is due to the fact that they are believed to have narrowly missed a life full of pains, agony and hospital trips.
Or so it seems.
And of course, they were right in believing so. After all, even science had believed that so called carriers are pain crises free, are more resistant to malaria and can only pass the disease to their future children if they marry someone with shared traits.
Recently however, it seems this view is being challenged as some carriers are increasingly manifesting symptoms of sickle cell disease. I have seen friends suffer such mild forms of pain crises and even spend long days at the hospital. I have also heard others talk about feeling pains especially around their joints.
I had to ask some doctors who preferred to remain anonymous why some sickle cell carriers manifest symptoms of sickle cell disease. It was quiet an interesting discussion but the outstanding factors which results to this situation were listed as:
- Anything that causes reduced oxygen around the person such as a crowded room, smoking, flying at high altitude.
- Anything that causes increased oxygen consumption around the person such as strenuous physical activity the person is not used to.
Interestingly, doing some research collaborated the words of the doctors some of the links I discovered can be seen below.
I would encourage everyone interested in this to follow the links and if possible, get more of such links to be better acquainted with the situation and how best to react or help a carrier who show symptoms of the sickle cell disease. Let’s create awareness and help this group of warriors not to suffer in silence. If you are a parent, you need not panic. Knowing what to do by educating your self will make sure your child lives a pain free life.
Knowledge is always the best defense in the fight against sickle cell disease.
ARREY E. AGBOR-NDAKAW
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