Theme : Leg Ulcers [ Sores] in Sickle Cell Disease
Doctor,why is it that SS people used to have sore on their legs?
Sickle cell disease is a debilitating condition which results from error in hemoglobin formation, which is the major component of blood.
This error causes the sickled red blood cells to deform and collapse, leading to significant physical pain and emotional distress among patients who spend their entire lives with this condition.
● Sickle cell disease leads to intensely painful condition called ” vaso-occlusive “crises”
When the individual goes into crisis , they may require long hospital admission for hydration, pain management, and (sometimes) transfusion with packed red cells.
● This condition is diagnosed and monitored with complete blood count and hemoglobin electrophoresis, which are special tests for the abnormal hemoglobin, which will confirm the genotype.
Damage from sickle cell presents as
1● anemia ( reduced blood )
2● Eye problems ( retinopathy)
3● Kidney disease , (nephropathy)
4● Reduced immunity
5● In men, sustained penile erection ( priapism).
6● Breathing problems, ( pulmonary hypertension)
7● lower extremity ulcers.
Why the Leg Ulcers ?
No one knows the exact cause of the leg ulcer. Most ulcers occur later in age, from 10 years.
Some researchers believe it is as a result of blockage of the blood vessels in the legs from the sickle cells, which leads to poor circulation.
These leg ulcers can occur spontaneously or through trauma/ minor injury in the ankle joints.
These ulcers are very difficult to treat and often take months to heal and then can recur quickly and painfully over days to weeks.
And because they are difficult to heal, they often progress to cover large areas of the leg!
Thank you .
Dr Chudi Godsons
References and Photo Credit
● Mayo Clinic