Posts Tagged ‘sickle anemia’

Sickle Cell Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Sickle Cell Anemia only found in Black people?
This is a very common mis-conception. Sickle cell anemia (sca) is not “only found in Black people”. White people in Greece, Sicily, Turkey, and their offspring around the world suffer from sickle cell anemia (sca). In fact, the highest incidences of the sickle cell gene (S, for short) are not found in Africa at all; they are in India and Saudi Arabia [References 1 to 10].

Why do people with sickle cell anemia not suffer from malaria?
A common mis-conception. A dangerous misconception. People with sickle cell anemia do suffer from malaria, and very badly too. Doctors who have been wrongly taught have been known to advise their sickle cell anemia patients traveling from Europe to the Tropics not to bother taking anti-malarial tablets because the sickle cells make them immune to the parasite. Dangerous advice, as malaria is the commonest cause of sickle cell crisis in Africa [ See also Question 8. References 9, 11 to 14, 21 & 22].

Why then do Science teachers always talk about malaria protection in sickle cell anemia?
Inadequate knowledge, or plain ignorance is the simple answer. I repeat: malaria affects sickle cell anemia patients more seriously than it does others. A sickle cell anemia child is one who has inherited sickle cell genes from both parents [S from father, and S from mother] producing the phenotype SS, which I have come to call ACHE-ACHE, that is one ACHE gene from father, and the other ACHE gene from mother. No one aches in the rainy season with just one ACHE gene. To suffer from cold season rheumatism, there must be contributions of ACHE from both parents. A child inheriting a sickle cell gene [S] from just one parent, and a normal hemoglobin gene [A] from the other parent is called Sickle Cell Trait [AS phenotype], which for simplicity sake I have come to call NORM-ACHE. This AS child does not have sickle cell anemia SS, and reacts to malaria differently.

image

“I’m not out to cure sickle cell, I’m out to disappear the ignorance around it” – WDC

941 Sickle Cell Unite Support Group is on FaceBook