WHATS YOUR TYPE?
A fortnight ago, the sad news had spread that the Hip-Hop world had lost one of its legends – one half of the Infamous Mobb Deep, Albert Johnson, better known by his stage name Prodigy. At just 42, his death came as a shock to us all. His life was taken far too soon, but perhaps it was a foreseen demise. This is not a suggestion of any sinister plot or conspiracy theory (just to make this clear), but more of a nod towards the man’s physical state.
It had been revealed that Prodigy had been hospitalised after a show in Las Vegas and had passed away days later due to problems caused from a Sickle Cell Anaemia crisis, a condition that myself and many others would have been unaware that he suffered from. From a personal standpoint, hearing this news brought back bitter memories and I have no doubt there may be someone who either heard the news or who is reading this that can relate. But for those who can’t comprehend the seriousness of Sickle Cell Anaemia, let’s look a little further into this.
Now don’t worry, we’re not about to have an A level biology class. Quite frankly I don’t think I am capable of breaking down the synthesis of Hemoglobin S. But what I can do is offer the important facts:
Sickle Cell Anaemia is an inherited group of red blood cell disorders. Instead of their normal circular flexible shape, the red blood cells of someone with Sickle Cell are flat and curved (like a sickle) and their inflexibility make it hard for the cells to move freely through the blood vessels in the body. A blockage/shortage of red blood cells also prevents the deliverance of oxygen, resulting in problems such as joint and abdominal pain, Anaemia, delayed growth, risk of infection and damage to the organs.
The average live expectancy of someone with Sickle Cell Anaemia is between 40-60 years.
Treatment for Sickle Cell Anaemia to reduce pain and complications include: vaccinations; bone marrow transplants; blood transfusions and medication among other methods
Sickle Cell Anaemia is common MOSTLY to those of African or Caribbean descent. However, Arabic, Mediterranean (particularly Italians and Greeks) and Latin and Native Americans can suffer from it also.
As aforementioned, Sickle Cell Anaemia is inherited. To be born with it, a child will have the Hemoglobin S gene that BOTH parents carry. If both the parents are carriers of the Hemoglobin S gene, there is a 1 in 4 chance that they will have a child born with Sickle Cell and a 1 in 2 chance that they will inherit the carrier gene.
The last two points I can imagine would be focused on in particular by those in relationships, especially where family planning is concerned. If you are thinking of having a child with your partner, your respective blood groups will definitely be a conversation you will want to have among others. If you and your partner are planning for a baby, knowing all the information necessary only benefits your preparation. After all, we would all love to be able to give our kids the best possible life they can have. Children with Sickle Cell Anaemia can most definitely lead normal life should the right precautions be taken and treatment be made available.
The simple message that I want to convey is this – make sure you’re aware of yourself, your body and its condition and most of all make sure you have all the necessary information when the time comes for you to create a life of your own. Stay aware to stay happy and healthy.
Here’s one of my favourites from Mobb Deep… Long live the Infamous!!