Thursday, January 21, 2021

Low awareness level, need for more public education on sickle cell disease in Bahrain

One in 10 Bahraini residents may carry the abnormal sickle cell gene, and 1 in 100 may be affected by sickle cell disease.

Despite being one of the most prevalent diseases in Bahrain, sickle cell disease (SCD) does not get due attention because of low awareness levels among public. Dr Shruti Prem, Consultant Hematology at Bahrain Specialist Hospital has called out for the need to increase public education on this disease that can be prevented through prenatal and pre-marital screening.

One in 10 Bahraini residents may carry the abnormal sickle cell gene, and 1 in 100 may be affected by SCD. The high frequency of this abnormal gene in the Bahraini population means that more than 200 babies with SCD can be expected to be born in Bahrain every year. If both parents have sickle cell trait or carry the abnormal sickle cell gene, there is a 1 in 4 chance that their child will have sickle cell disease which can be prevented by prenatal diagnosis.

Patients with SCD have an abnormal haemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body). While regular blood cells are round in shape and move through the vessels smoothly, the abnormal hemoglobin makes the red blood cells stiff and sticky, changing their shape and making the movement through blood vessels difficult. These sickle cells hinder the flow of oxygen and damage tissues.

Dr Shruti advised that children suffering from anemia since young age, or those who have episodes of unexplained severe pain, infection, fever, or swelling in hands and feet should consult a haematologist to rule out SCD. Strokes, lung damage, and blindness can occur more frequently in SCD than in normal people and lung damage is an important cause of death in SCD patients.

The pain of sickle cell crises is among the most unbearable pain syndromes in medicine. Dr Shruti emphasized that every patient suffering from sickle cell disease should be given an effective and individualized pain management strategy in order to decrease the suffering from this chronic disease. Regular follow-up with a hematologist is important to manage complications from this disease such as chronic organ damage which can develop later in life.

For patients suffering from sickle cell disease, Dr Shruti suggested regular check-ups at least once in three to six months, and emphasized the need for staying well hydrated, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, being up to date with immunizations, and avoiding extreme temperatures, stress, and heavy exertion to decrease the frequency of pain crises.

Patients can also be started on a medication called Hydroxyurea after consultation with a hematologist to decrease complications of SCD. Quitting or avoiding smoking is also very important as lung damage is frequently encountered in sickle cell disease. Newer treatments with gene editing using CRISPR technology have recently been pioneered successfully in SCD and now offer hope for a cure to people suffering from this chronic disease.

Dr. Shruti Prem SudhaDr. Shruti Prem Sudha
Consultant Hematologist
Bahrain Specialist Hospital
Email: shruti.sudha@bsh.com.bh

MOST READ

Insight into the Beautiful & Ancient Science of Yoga: Interview with Neelanjana Bharadwaj

Neelanjana Bharadwaj needs no introduction for the readers of Bahrain This Week. She has inspired many readers with her weekly column “The Yoga Buzz”...

Bahrain exports BD599 Million Worth of Products of National Origins during Q4 2020

The Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) issued its foreign trade report of Fourth quarter 2020, encompassing data on the balance of trade, imports, exports...

Batelco Chairman Presents the Winners of the “Chairman’s Award”

Batelco Chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa rewarded the winners of the Batelco “Chairman’s Award” during the annual Town Hall that took place...

SEA President participates in Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week opening ceremony

Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA)'s President Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza participated in the first virtual opening of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week activities...

HM King holds call with Bahraini bodybuilding champion

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa held a telephone call with Bahraini bodybuilding champion Sami Al Hadad and congratulated him on his...

Interior Minister receives new officers

Minister of Interior, General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, today received some new officers who took the oath in front of him. Chief of...

Al Salam Bank Holds its Annual Town Hall

Al Salam Bank-Bahrain (Al Salam Bank), a leading regional Islamic bank and provider of a comprehensive range of innovative and unique Shari’a-compliant financial products...

Powerful Runes and Elevated Gameplay Adorn Massive PUBG Mobile Version 1.2 Update

Mystical powers descend on the hit mobile game PUBG MOBILE as part of the latest content update. The popular Erangel map receives special runes...

Roma claims fifth place for Bahrain Raid Xtreme maiden Dakar Rally

Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver, Nani Roma, set out from Yanbu bound for Jeddah for stage twelve, the final stage of the Dakar Rally 2021. Only...

BIC to host first Open Track Day of the new year on Saturday

Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) continues its busy start for 2021 as it hosts the first Open Track Day of the new year on Saturday...

The Aga Khan selects Her Excellency Shaikha Mai as an award member at its 15th session

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture announced the selection of Her Excellency Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for...

stc Bahrain connects Thai Mart and its 135 retail outlets on its fast and reliable fiber optic network

To continue expanding its reach with the wider community, stc Bahrain, a world-class digital enabler, has partnered with Thai Mart, the only complete Thai...

Raffii Raffii, Raed Himmo take a win apiece for second straight round in BIC 2,000cc Challenge

Raed Raffii and Raed Himmo shared the spoils for the second successive week of racing in the 2020/2021 BIC 2,000cc Challenge, held over the...

Silah Gulf Partners with Cisco to Revolutionize Customer Experience in GCC

Silah Gulf has announced its ground-breaking launch of the Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (Cisco UCCE), one of the most advanced Contact Center platforms...