The starting cost of Sickle cell anemia treatment in India is 15,000 USD. The price of sickle cell anaemia treatment is not fixed, but it varies as per the causes, symptoms and other health conditions in the patient.
However, if you compare the cost of the treatment to other countries, you will realise that the expenses in India are very less. To be specific, it is almost one-fourth of the total amount of treatment in the US.
Sickle cell anemia is a sickle cell disease. This is an inherited red blood cell disorder where the red blood cells in the body are not healthy enough to carry oxygen throughout the body. The normal red blood cells are round in shape and hence can easily move through the blood vessels. The abnormal once are sickle-shaped or of the shape of a crescent moon; hence the name of the disease. This particular shape makes the locomotion of the blood cells difficult within the rounded blood vessels. Hence the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood drastically reduces.
This disease is an inherited one— the parents of the patient having the disease pass on the mutated gene to the cells. But the parents need not necessarily show any signs or symptoms of the disease as it is recessive in their bodies but is active in the body of their ward.
The sickle cell anemia patient has an abnormality in the protein, hemoglobin, in the red blood cell, which is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. The people who have this disease inherit two abnormal hemoglobin genes from each of their parents. This hemoglobin is called S or sickle hemoglobin. Depending upon this, sickle cell disease can be classified into the following types:
In all the above types of sickle cell diseases at least one of the two abnormal cells causes the body to make the hemoglobin S. But when both the inherited genes are mutated the cell has hemoglobin SS, this disease is called sickle cell anemia. It is one of the most common sickle cell diseases. Other common diseases are Haemoglobin SC and Haemoglobin SB. The diseases Haemoglobin SD and Haemoglobin SE are rare and not very common.
This disease is present in the person ever since birth. But the main signs or symptoms start occurring only after 5 to 6 months of the birth. The children having this disease may start showing symptoms early on in life while some may start to show it later in life. The very early symptoms in children are as follows:
Most children suffering from sickle cell anemia are pain-free except for the episodes of crises, but the pain increases and becomes worse in teens and adults. The pain can be chronic and also on-going over a lifetime. Over some time, this disease causes damage to various organs of the body due to the abnormal red blood cells and its reduced capacity to carry oxygen to the various parts of the body. This is the main reason why the organs get devoid of blood rich in oxygen and eventually start getting damaged.
This disease can harm the patient’s organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, eyes, heart, brain, bones, joints, or skin.
The diagnosis of the disease can be made by examining the blood samples of the person. For the diagnosis of this disease, hemoglobin electrophoresis is done which determines the presence of a mutated hemoglobin gene. If the blood cell is sickle-shaped, then the person is a carrier of the mutated gene or has the disease.
The line of treatment undertaken for this disease can be various. A blood or bone marrow transplant is currently the only cure for the patients diagnosed with the disease. Apart from the transplant, the other treatment includes the administration of certain drugs and Blood transfusion.
The medications that are used in the treatment of the disease are:
In this process, the healthy red blood cells are removed from the donor blood and transfused intravenously into the bloodstream of the person affected with sickle cell anemia. In this process, the number of normal blood cells increases in the affected person that may reduce the symptoms and complications of the disease.
This method primarily involves bone marrow replacement wherein the bone marrow of the deceased is replaced with the bone marrow of a healthy donor who is not affected with sickle cell anemia. This method ensures the healthy production of red blood cells in the body of the affected person, thus reducing the signs and complications of the disease. The matched donor is usually a closely related person who doesn’t have sickle cell anemia.
This procedure usually involves a long hospital stay. After the procedure is complete, the patient receives special drugs to help reduce the risk of rejection of the donated stem cells. This is important because if the body rejects the transplant, the person might get exposed to life-threatening complications.
The treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia is available in many reputed hospitals in India. The hospital selection of the patient may vary the total expenses of the patients.
A. Yes, doctors can take a sample of the amniotic fluid, the fluid surrounding the baby in the womb, and test the fluid to determine if the baby has sickle cell trait or sickle cell anemia. Amniotic tests can be performed as early as the first trimester. Chorionic villus sampling, a test to detect a variety of genetic problems, can also be performed early in pregnancy to detect sickle cell.
A. The average life expectancy of a patient with sickle cell anemia is 48 years for females and 42 years for males although there have been cases of patients who lived well past these ages. Death typically occurs during a time of crisis and as a result of stroke caused by clotting of the blood or due to severe infections.
A. Sickle cell anemia is one of the most common genetic blood disorders in the world. Although it is possible to be present in any ethnic group it is most common in individuals of African heritage, 1 in 500, and Hispanic heritage, 1 in 1000. It is also commonly found in individuals of Arabian, Mediterranean and Indian descent.
A. Woman with sickle cell anemia has a much higher rate of health complications for both themselves and the unborn child. Careful monitoring and care both prior to and during the pregnancy are essential to ensuring a healthy pregnancy and baby. Patients that are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant should consult both their gynecologist and hematologist to determine the base course of treatment and care.
A. Sickle cell anemia is caused by an autosomal recessive inheritance which means that both parents must carry the gene and pass it on to the child for the child to develop the disease. If only one of the parents has the recessive gene, or if only one recessive gene is inherited, the offspring will have sickle cell trait but will not develop sickle cell anemia. Even if the disease does not develop, however, a person with sickle cell trait can pass that trait on to their children.
A. Currently, the only possibility of a cure for sickle cell anemia is a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant is generally only performed on patients under the age of 16 since the risks increase greatly as the patient ages. A bone marrow transplant, even when the donor is an excellent match, is an extremely high-risk procedure which can lead to many complications including death.