How to Treat Sickle Cell Anemia
While it can be cured, learning how to treat sickle cell anemia is very important. It can be the difference between life and death for very small children with it. Effective treatment can also help people to live as normal of a life as possible in spite of their health condition. Today, we know more about sickle cell anemia than ever before so we have the means to effectively treat it.
Controlling the Pain
Individuals with sickle cell anemia often suffer from a great deal of pain. This can make it very hard for them to work, to care for their family, or even to get through normal daily activities. Pain medications are often necessary to make the individual more comfortable. Such medication will need to be taken daily for the best results. The doctor will have to determine the right medication as well as the dose of it for each individual case. For mild cases, over the counter pain medications may be sufficient.
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One type of pain medication offered is called Hydroxyurea and it is generally only for individuals that have a very serious sickle cell anemia diagnosis and they are at least 18 years of age. However, there are some serious side effects with it. For example it may increase the risk of someone developing leukemia or tumors after extended use.
Infections are common with sickle cell anemia, so the form of medication that is offered has to be effective for preventing that from occurring too. Infections can cause permanent damage in the body which is why they are so dangerous and need to be intercepted. When an infection is detected, a form of medication known as antibiotics must be taken to destroy it. The antibiotics may need to be taken for a period of time that lasts from 7 to 10 days.
Preventing serious problems for individuals with sickle cell anemia is very important. A regular health assessment is important to the overall care. Vision loss and eye damage are common for people with sickle cell anemia. Checking the eyes at least every six months is very important.
Stroke is another serious health problem associated with sickle cell anemia. Today there are tests that allow for people to be assessed when it comes to their risk of a stroke. In many medical facilities children start to get these types of tests when they are only about 2 years of age.
Among the methods for hoe to treat sickle cell anemia, the use of blood transfusions is used. There are safeguards in place to make sure the blood used is safe and it is clean. Most experts believe that these types of blood transfusions at regular intervals can reduce the risk of a stroke for patients with sickle cell anemia.
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One of the problems though with blood transfusions is that they can introduce too much iron into the body. The use of a type of medication called Deferasirox is often used to prevent that. When a person has too much iron in the body, vital organs can end up being damages so this needs to be closely monitored.
Bone Marrow Transplants
One of the most effective forms of treatment for sickle cell anemia is a bone marrow transplant. How to treat sickle cell anemia with it though can be complicated to fully understand. There has to be a very good match of donor bone marrow to conduct the transplant. This can be parents or siblings but very rarely is it every from a complete stranger. Still, there have been drives where people are asked to come be tested to see if they would be a good match for someone in need.