Support the Crescent Foundation
Metamorphidi LLC proudly stands with the Crescent Foundation and the intentions driving this initiative. The organization will receive 100%
of your donations and is tax deductible. As a Sickle Cell Warrior myself this foundation is truly near and dear to my heart as they have personally assisted me with their advocation services.
What is the Crescent Foundation?
The Crescent Foundation is a solutions-focused organization with the sole purpose of serving the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) community. By providing support and guidance to individuals transitioning from pediatric to adult care, and by continuing to support them throughout their journeys of navigating the healthcare system, we aim to increase awareness surrounding the care for those living with SCD.
What is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood condition in the world. It affects red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body via a protein called hemoglobin. In people with sickle cell disease, a small hemoglobin difference causes red blood cells to change, resulting in hemolysis, early red cell breakdown, and vascular blockage/occlusion.
When red blood cells containing sickle hemoglobin become deoxygenated, they become rigid and sickle-shaped. This causes them to clump together, instead of flowing freely through small blood vessels. This can cause pain crises when oxygen doesn’t reach bone or muscles, or acute chest syndrome and stroke when oxygen doesn’t reach lung and brain tissue.
The Red Blood Cells Sickling Process
Polymerization is a sickling process of the red blood cells. Though silent, the damage caused may lead to organ damage in the long run. Red blood cells (RBCs) deliver oxygen to every part of the body that need it, including bones, organs, and tissues. This essential task is hindered when the RBCs sickle.
The Sickling Stages
1. Vaso-Occlusion (VOCS)
The first stage of the sickling process causes the blockage of blood vessels. The main sign is a pain crisis, during which there is pain, typically in the bones, joints, stomach, and chest.
Hemolysis defines the process by which red blood cells break down. After breaking down, RBCs release a yellow substance known as bilirubin into the bloodstream, which can cause the skin and eyes to turn yellow - jaundice.
This triggers a response to create new (baby) red blood cells, reticulocytes, to replace the broken-down RBCs. As such, a high levels of bilirubin or reticulocytes are among the main signs of hemolysis.
After hemolysis, the resulting significant reduction in the count of red blood cells leads to anemia. The main signs of anemia are feeling tired and weak, difficulty thinking and concentrating, and less ability to do physical activities.
Even without pain, sickle cell disease causes damage to the body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Hemolysis and anemia are associated with high blood pressure, risk of stroke, and brain, lung, and heart damage.
Who Does it Affect?
Sickle cell disease occurs most commonly in people with origins from Africa, South or Central America (especially Panama), Caribbean islands, Mediterranean countries (such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy), India, and Saudi Arabia.
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