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Hi, my friend’s son has been diagnosed with sickle sell anemia. I was very upset with this news because I have a daughter that is his age and I can’t imagine how I would feel if she got sick. The only thing I know about sickle cell anemia is that it is a kind of blood cell disease. The thing that worries me is how could a baby that is only ten months old have developed this condition. I can see by looking at my friend that this is a very serious blood cell disease. Could you tell me something more about it? I would like to comfort my friend, but I just don’t know what I can say to make her feel better.

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Hi, I am sorry to hear about your friend’s son. First of all, you should know that sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood cell disease, so you don’t have to be worried about your daughter getting it. The blood cells that are damaged are the red blood cells. These blood cells in people with sickle cell anemia are not in the normal shape of the disc, but they are lengthened and resemble a sickle. The change in shape is due to the change in hemoglobin molecules. Hemoglobin is a part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen. The hemoglobin in a person suffering from this blood cell disease is carrying less oxygen than usual causing the blood cells to change shape. The distorted cells can form blood cloths. These cloths can block blood vessels and cause damage to the organs. The damage is followed by the acute pain episodes that can last from couple of hours to days. It is a good thing that your friend’s son was diagnosed this early. The doctors will start with the treatment to reduce the changes in hemoglobin that cause all the complication. You could also tell your friend that with the modern day medicine her son will have a long life, no matter to his condition.
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