Many years ago, a lot of Africans were puzzled over what constituted a major cause of death among children. This resulted to the myth about the existence of Abiku or Obanje. An Abiku or Obanje according to ancient traditional belief, was a mysterious child who dies, comes back to life through same parents(and sometimes through a different parent), dies again, comes back to life again, until his/her assignment is completed.
The abiku/ogbanje myth remained the opinion of traditionalists for a very long time, until research and discoveries demystified the cause of repeated deaths among children, especially of the same parents. At this instance, the name “Sickle cell” came to light. What was traditionally described as ogbanje/abiku became recognized as “sickle cell” anaemia because, the red blood cell which is responsible for the transportation of oxygen in the body was discovered to take the shape of a sickle. Whereas, anemia is the condition of an individual in a sickle cell crisis.
As further researches about sickle cell anemia came through, measures were put forward on how to prevent and manage cases of anemia. This article explains in details how to avoid repeated cases of sickle cell anemia in one’s linage and hopes to address the curiosity as to what can be done to prevent sickle cell anemia
Since sickle cell manifests from childhood, research and investigations were made into the genotype of parents whose children suffered from sickle cell anemia and a uniform observation was reached. Parents whose children suffer from anaemia have mismatch of genotype. This is the chief and major cause of anemia. Thus, in order not to have a child suffering from anemia, we are advised to go for genotype test to avoid having couples with genotype mismatch.
Genotype is used to mean the genetic characteristics of an individual or organism, which determines specific trait of an individual. Known genotype composition of individuals are AA, AS, AC, and SS. Intending couples must therefore, watch out for recessive disorder as highlighted below, to save their children from sickle cell anemia.
AA + AA=AA AA, AA, AA(Match)
AA + AS = AA, AS, AA, AS, (Match)
AA + SS = AS, AS, AS, AS, (Match)
AA + AC = AA, AA, AA, AC. (Match)
AS + AS = AA, AS, AS, SS, (Mismatch)
AS + SS = AS, SS, SS, SS, (Mismatch)
AS + AC = AA, AC, AS, SS. (Mismatch)
SS + SS = SS, SS, SS, SS, (Mismatch)
AC + SS = AS, AS, SS, SS, (Mismatch)
AC + AC = AA, AC, AC, SS. (Mismatch).
The following prescription will prevent rapid outbreak of anemia crisis for those with sickle cell.
i. Drink plenty of water
ii. Keep off from extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
iii. Avoid engaging in rigorous exercise that will task your intake of oxygen
iv. Observe breaks during light exercise
v. Eat foods rich in iron, E.g beans, unripe plantain, bread, lean red meat, etc
vi. Have meals rich in vitamin B12. E.g fish, milk, poultry, eggs and cereals.
vii. Take drugs like hydroxyurea following doctor’s prescription.
Sickle cell anemia can be life treating if not properly managed. The only available cure for sickle cell is bone marrow transplant and that can be very costly to afford and risky to go by. On this note, we at healthiswealth.ng strongly recommend a genotype test for intending couples to prevent the proliferation of sickle cell sufferers around us, as our recommendation is cheaper, easier and less demanding.