Wednesday, June 3, 2020

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: [email protected]

MOST READ

Bahrain’s Visionary Implementation of Robots to Combat COVID-19

As a visionary step, Bahrain has introduced robots for the assistance of COVID-19 patients. H.E Fatima A.Wahid Al Ahmed Assistant Undersecretary for Resources and...

Gulf Air Resumes Flights from Pakistan

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, confirms the return of operations out of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan starting from...

Minister highlights Bahrain’s efforts to fight smoking, preserve public health

Health Minister, Faeqa bint Said Al-Saleh, has said that the World No Tobacco Day provides an opportunity for Bahrain to promote social awareness on...

Al Rashid Group (ARG) join hands with the Capital Governorate to provide immediate relief to underprivileged workers in Bahrain

To support the needs of the local communities and those highly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bahraini homegrown retail and hospitality conglomerate, Al...

Royal Humanitarian Foundation launches new charity initiative

A charity initiative aimed at supporting Bahraini citizens and families and other needy people affected by COVID-19 has been unveiled. The Royal Humanitarian Foundation (RHF)...

HH Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad praises “Al-Sariya” Quiz Show success

HM the King’s Representative for Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs, National Security Advisor and Supreme Council for Youth and Sports (SCYS) Chairman His Highness...

Labour Ministry launches electronic employment service

The Labour and Social Development Ministry has announced the launch of the electronic employment procedures as of Monday, noting that job-seekers are now provided...

HM King’s directives to honour sports icon praised by Youth Minister

Youth and Sports Affairs Minister, Ayman bin Tawfiq Al-Moayyad, has lauded His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s directives to rename the three...

stc Bahrain partners with Bahrain City Centre Towers, the highest residential towers in Seef District

Offering integrated ICT solutions to equip businesses with next-generation technologies, stc Bahrain has partnered with Bahrain City Centre Towers in the Seef District. Under...

Information Minister hails HH Shaikh Nasser’s support to the media

Information Affairs Minister Ali bin Mohammed Al-Romaihi paid tribute to HM the King’s Representative for Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs, National Security Advisor and...

Bahrain will overcome coronavirus pandemic successfully says SCH President

President of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) Lieutenant General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the Head of the National Medical Team...

INJAZ Bahrain offers educational programs online amid Covid-19 outbreak

INJAZ Bahrain has recently launched a series of programs online, in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Bahrain. The online programs,...

HH Southern Governor visits Khalifa Town; meets citizens virtually

Southern Governor, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, today paid a field visit to Khalifa Town, in the presence of...

Justice Minister stresses compliance to precautionary measures

Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Khalifa stressed the necessity of performing the Friday prayers in accordance with the mandatory...

AlMabarrah AlKhalifia Foundation’s ‘100 Laptops’ initiative achieves tremendous success

AlMabarrah AlKhalifia Foundation has announced the success of its "100 Laptops" initiative after it contributed to providing 162 laptops for students, exceeding its initial...