Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that causes “sickle” shaped red blood cells that can stick together, blocking blood flow and oxygen from reaching all parts of the body. People with SCD can experience pain, anemia, infection, and other serious health complications that may require them to be frequent in the Hospital.
SCD is not a communicable disease. it’s not witchcraft or Obanje like most people say, you are born with it. To be born with sickle cell disease, a child has to inherit a copy of the sickle cell gene from both parents. This usually happens when both parents are “carriers” of the sickle cell gene. That is if both parents are AS, there is a tendency that you will have a Sickle Cell child. This is very dangerous. Hence we need to stress the importance of checking your genotype before you get married to avoid this disaster.
Every year, on June 19, countries all over the world celebrate World Sickle Cell Day, which was initially presented as a resolution by the United Nations in 2008. The goal of this day is to recognize sickle cell anemia as a public health problem and promote education about this genetic condition. The theme of this year’s celebration is SCD: IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE.
In simple terms, ‘Self Care’ means caring for yourself. Self-care includes anything you do to keep yourself healthy – physically, mentally and spiritually. Although prioritizing self-care may sound like common sense, especially if you’re considering longevity. Asides what we get in the Hospital, we need to device a means to take care of ourselves at home. Self-care can reduce the frequency of crisis.
Self-care is a priority, particularly for young adults with SCD. Coincidentally, individuals with SCD who move from pediatric to adulthood are at a high risk of early death particularly because young adults lack knowledge about the adult SCD care strategy, lack financial independence and decision-making experience.
It is important to understand self-care strategies in the context of SCD. Strategies used by adults with SCD to manage their disease included; *Having a pain management plan
*Prevent severe infection
*Prevent vision problems
*Exercise with care
*Prevent problems at high altitude or during air travel
*Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke
*developing an art for pain management
*Manage and reduce stress
*Get plenty of rest and sleep
*Stay warm in cold weather
and lots more.
In sickle cell disease (SCD), home self-care contributes to individual pain management and thus pain crisis prevention. A better understanding of self-care can help you reduce the frequency of crisis, help reduce hospital visit and yes, promote longevity.
For more information, contact Calabar Sickle Cell Foundation. 08033512972 and 08088105788.