COLUMBUS, Ga. -
If you have Sickle cell anemia, the Association of Sickle Cell wants you. The group is hosting a "Sickle Cell Client Recovery Program on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at the Mildred Terry Library on Veterans Parkway.The time is from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Though the event lasts until 3:00, organizers say each person should not have to stay more than an hour.
The event is held to identify every sickle cell client in the area, provide education about the disease and the resources and treatments available in Columbus and lower Chattahoochee region. Georgia Department of Human Resources vendors will be on site to answer questions and provide resource answers on financial assistance, health insurance and medical assistance, among others.
All sickle cell patients in the area are invited. Gifts, refreshments, videos, and informational handouts will be available. Free school supplies will be distributed to sickle cell children whose parents register and participate in the recovery program presentation.
Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body. The Mayo Clinic lists the following signs and symptoms:
- Anemia. Sickle cells are fragile. They break apart easily and die, leaving you chronically short on red blood cells. Red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before they die and need to be replaced. However, sickle cells die after only 10 to 20 days. The result is a chronic shortage of red blood cells, known as anemia. Without enough red blood cells in circulation, your body can't get the oxygen it needs to feel energized. That's why anemia causes fatigue.
- Episodes of pain. Periodic episodes of pain, called crises, are a major symptom of sickle cell anemia. Pain develops when sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood flow through tiny blood vessels to your chest, abdomen and joints. Pain can also occur in your bones. The pain may vary in intensity and can last for a few hours to a few weeks. Some people experience only a few episodes of pain. Others experience a dozen or more crises a year. If a crisis is severe enough, you may need to be hospitalized.
- Hand-foot syndrome. Swollen hands and feet may be the first signs of sickle cell anemia in babies. The swelling is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking blood flow out of their hands and feet.
- Frequent infections. Sickle cells can damage your spleen, an organ that fights infection. This may make you more vulnerable to infections. Doctors commonly give infants and children with sickle cell anemia antibiotics to prevent potentially life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia.
- Delayed growth. Red blood cells provide your body with the oxygen and nutrients you need for growth. A shortage of healthy red blood cells can slow growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
- Vision problems. Some people with sickle cell anemia experience vision problems. Tiny blood vessels that supply your eyes may become plugged with sickle cells. This can damage the retina — the portion of the eye that processes visual images.
For more information, you can call (706) 566-6329 or email Lois Williams of the Association of Sickle Cell, Lower Chattahoochee Region at firstname.lastname@example.org.