Hemoglobin, an oxygen carrying protein in blood, is sometime altered in people
causing interruptions in the circulation of blood. This is known as Sickle-Cell
Anemia. In the United States, Sickle-Cell Anemia is found mostly in blacks.
About 1 in 400 blacks in the United States have the disorder. In Africa, and
parts of the Middle East, Sickle-Cell Anemia can be found, not just in the
United States. In infants, it only takes about 6 months after birth for symptoms
of Sickle-Cell Anemia to appear. These symptoms include the following: swelling
of hands and feet; and enlargement of heart and abdomen. Sexual maturation may
be delayed in the adolescence stage of life. Later in life, leg ulcers and
infections can occur due to blood flow disturbance caused by the disease.
Sickle-Cell Anemia gets its name from the sickle, a sharp, crescent- shaped
tool. When a person has Sick-Cell Anemia, their red blood cells change in shape
due to the altered hemoglobin in the blood. When the oxygen in the blood cells
is reduced for any reason, the cells become oddly shaped. They are shaped like a
sickle. This blood disease is inherited from the parents, much like other
traits. The gene for Sickle-Cell Anemia is codominant with the gene for normal
blood hemoglobin. When the heterozygous form occurs, that person is said to be a
Sickle-Call Carrier. He or she has the gene for the Sickle-Cell Anemia, but does
not show the symptoms of the disorder. Sickle-Cell carriers are partially
resistant to Malaria.