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Sickle cell anemia - Sickle cell disease (SCD)
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Sickle cell anemia - Sickle cell disease (SCD)

It's a disease of the blood that gets its name because sickle cells look like a farm tool called a sickle. Sickle cell disease (SCD) and its variants are genetic disorders of mutant hemoglobin's.

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HEART & BLOOD

Anemia

Anemia Natural Remedies

Author: Edward F. Group III, D.C., Ph.D, N.D.,CCN, DACBN

The blood in our bodies is composed of three types of cells: Red blood cells, White blood cells, and Platelets that circulate throughout the body. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin (Hb), a red, iron-rich protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to all of the body's muscles and organs. Oxygen provides the energy the body needs for all of its normal activities.

Just how much blood do we have pumping through our heart, lungs, organs, veins, and arteries? Well, the blood volume will vary depending on the size of the person, their state of hydration, and the volume of the cellular elements (white blood cells and red blood cells predominantly) in their blood. The total blood volume for an average 70 kg human (150 pounds) is approximately 5.5 liters (or a little more than 5 1/2 quarts, or a little more than 160 ounces).

Anemia occurs when the number of red blood cells (or the Hb in them) falls below normal and the body gets less oxygen and therefore has less energy than it needs to function properly. The best way to detect low blood count is by a CBC test. This is done by counting and examining different types of cells in the blood. In today's technology age, this test is done by machine.

Six tests make up a CBC:

• Red blood cell (RBC) count
• Hematocrit
• Hemoglobin
• White blood cell (WBC) count
• Differential blood count (the "diff")
• Platelet count

Only the first three of these tests: the red blood cell (RBC) count, the hematocrit, and the hemoglobin, are relevant to the diagnosis of anemia. The red blood cells (RBCs) are the most common type of cells in the blood. Everyone has millions and millions of these little disc-shaped cells. The RBC count is done to determine if the number of red blood cells is low (anemia) or high (polycythemia). In an RBC count, the number and size of the RBCs are determined. The shape of the red blood cells is also evaluated under a microscope. All of this information, the number, size and shape of the RBCs, is useful in the diagnosis of anemia and, if there is anemia, in the decision about the exact type of anemia.

The hematocrit is a very convenient way to determine whether the red blood cell count is too high, too low, or normal. The hematocrit is specifically a measure of how much of the blood is made of red cells. The hematocrit is often done by pricking the finger and drawing a drop of blood up into a thin glass tube. Another way is to draw a tube of blood from the arm.

The RBCs in the sample of blood are packed down by spinning the tube in a centrifuge under prescribed conditions. The proportion of the tube that consists of RBCs is then measured. Let's say that it is 45%. The hematocrit is 45.

Hemoglobin is a red pigment that gives the blood its color. Hemoglobin is the key chemical compound that combines with oxygen from the lungs and carries the oxygen from the lungs to cells throughout the body. Oxygen is essential for cells to produce energy. The blood also transports carbon dioxide, which is the waste product of this energy production process, back to the lungs from which it is exhaled into the air. People with a low hemoglobin level have anemia. When there is a low hemoglobin level, there is often a low red blood cell count and a low hematocrit, too.

Anemia can become worse if it is not treated, and it can lead to potentially serious, even life-threatening complications. When the number of red blood cells decreases, the heart works harder, pumping more blood to send more oxygen throughout the body. If the heart works too hard, it can develop a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), and/or another serious condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), an enlargement of the heart muscle that in turn can lead to heart failure.

Here is a list of some of the causes of anemia:

• Serious disease
• Vitamin or iron deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12 and folate. 
• Blood loss
• Genetic or acquired defects or disease
• Side effects of medication
• There can be rupture of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia) due to antibodies clinging to the surface of the red cells, as in hemolytic disease of the newborn and in many other conditions.
• A wide assortment of bone marrow diseases can cause anemia. For example, cancers that spread (metastasize) to the bone marrow, or cancers of the bone marrow (such as leukemia or multiple myeloma) can cause the bone marrow to inadequately produce red blood cells, resulting in anemia. Certain chemotherapy for cancers can also cause damage to the bone marrow and decrease red blood cell production, resulting in anemia. Finally, patients with kidney failure may lack the hormone necessary to stimulate normal red blood cell production by the bone marrow.

Symptoms of Anemia

Anemia can be hard to spot because some symptoms could be the result of a serious disease or even medication side effects. As anemia gets worse the person’s quality of life suffers. 

People with anemia lack energy to do simple things and enjoy hobbies or other leisure activities, or even to complete basic tasks at home or at work. If the person has a serious disease on top of it, fatigue, weakness and other symptoms associated with anemia can make living unbearable.

Major symptoms of anemia include:

• Extreme fatigue
• Weakness
• Shortness of breath
• Confusion or loss of concentration
• Dizziness or fainting
• Pale skin, including decreased pinkness of the lips, gums, lining of the eyelids, nail beds and palms
• Rapid heart beat (
Tachycardia)
• Feeling cold
• Sadness or Depression

Natural Remedy Suggestons:

Healthy Diet - Do not eat spinach, rhubarb, tomatoes, or chocolate.  These foods are high in oxalic acid, a substance that inhibits your body's ability to absorb iron.  Other iron blockers are sodas, dairy products, coffee and black tea.  Avoid cow's milk which can cause hidden bleeding in the intestinal tract.  Do not follow fad diets.  Eat plenty of organic vegetables and fruits.  Foods to include are green leafy vegetables, cashews, cherries, strawberries, figs, kelp and organic eggs.  Include a spoonful of blackstrap molasses every day.  Cook in cast-iron pots and pans.

Spirulina - 2,000 mg daily.  Stimulates the bone marrow production of red blood cells.

Vitamin C - 250 - 500 mg with each dose of iron.

Yellow Dock - 1 capsule or 20 drops of tincture with every meal.  Improves iron absorption.

Vitamin B12 - 1,000 to 2,000 mcg daily in the sublingual methylcobalamin form.

Iron - 50-100 mg of a well-absorbed form of iron, such as iron citrate, gluconate, glycinate, or fumarate.  Take 1 to 2 times daily.

Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse - Do once a month for 3 months and then twice yearly.  Keeps the liver clean.

Betaine HCL - Increases stomach acid.  Take 1 capsule with each meal.

Enzymes - 2 capsules with each meal.  Helps with the digestion of food and nutrients.

Commercial preparation containing dandelion, pau d-arco and nettle leaf - These herbs leach iron from the soil and there have a high mineral density.

Aromatherapy

To improve circulation:  eucalyptus, ginger, black pepper and rosemary.  Dilute with a carrier oil for a stimulating massage.

Uplifting Effect:  Diffuse geranium or jasmine.

Because the symptoms of anemia are easily confused with the symptoms of other conditions, it is important to see a doctor for an evaluation if you are experiencing significant fatigue or other signs and symptoms listed above, or if you already have a serious disease. It is better to attempt to treat anemia after a sure diagnosis has been made as too much iron in the body may cause serious health concerns.

Anemia, sickle cell > 1 > 2 > 3

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Last Modified : 03/14/08 06:50 PM