Sickle Cell Disorder and Lifestyle Adaptation ( Part 1 )


In this 2 part series , we have Dr David Owoeye who is a Sickle Cell specialist . He shares with us

  • Sickle Cell Disorder
  • Lifestyle Adaptation
  • How to Prevent a Sickle Cell Crisis & What To Do

Our health is important to attain a healthy lifestyle for a productive and profitable life but changes we make in our lifestyle can determine whether we live healthy or unhealthy, whether we live at ease or with a disease.

There are some diseases we develop based on what we do and there are certain diseases we develop based on what others did. One of such diseases is sickle cell disorder, a haemoglobinopathy, disease of the haemoglobin referred to as Haemoglobin S.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5% of the global population carries a trait of haemoglobin disorders, mainly sickle cell disorder and thalassemia. Annually, over 300,000 babies are born with the severe forms of this disorder, occurring majorly in Africa. It is estimated that Nigeria has the highest burden of sickle cell disorder globally.

Sickle cell disorder is a genetic blood disorder, inherited by offspring from their parents. Haemoglobin is the oxygen transporter in the red blood cells. The red blood cells like other blood cells (white blood cells and platelets) in our blood circulation are produced from the stem cells of the bone marrow. The normal shape of the red blood cell is biconcave but can become sickled under certain conditions in sickle cell disorder because of a genetic mutation in haemoglobin. It is important people are screened and tested for sickle cell disorder to know their haemoglobin genotype status.

People living with sickle cell disorder, often referred to as sickle cell warriors, experience different sickle cell crises and sickle cell complications which can be detrimental to health and life if not effectively managed. The commonest of the sickle cell crises is the pain crisis also called vaso-occlusive crisis while other crises are haemolytic crisis, sequestration crisis, aplastic crisis, etc.


Sickle cell crises are triggered by certain factors:

  1. Dehydration
  2. Stress – physical or mental stress.
  3. Exposure to extremes of temperature – too hot or too cold.
  4. Infections by germs such as bacterial, viral, fungi, parasite (e.g., malaria parasite causing malaria fever), etc.
  5. Hypoxia – reduced oxygen in the cells; people living in areas with high altitude like the mountains because the higher you go, the lower the oxygen.
  6. Acidosis – increase acidity of the body solvent.

It is important that sickle cell warriors and their caregivers are informed about the lifestyle changes and adaptation to enable them live crisis free.


LOOK OUT NEXT WEEK – For How to Prevent a Sickle Cell Crisis & What To Do


Contributor – Dr. David Owoeye (Sickle Cell Warrior)

– Author of the book – A LIFE WITH SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA

Infection Prevention and Control Specialist

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MB.BS & MBA (IL, Nigeria), MSc in Infection Control (Essex, UK).


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