Pathophysiology Week 5: Malaria and Sickle-cell Disease
1. Sickle cell disease is an adaptive response against malaria. Discuss and identify the pathogen and transmission of malaria.
2. Where and why do you think an adaptation occurred that led to the development of sickle cell disease and what is the pathophysiology of the adaptation?
3. Why do people who no longer live in parts of the world where malaria is prevalent still develop sickle cell disease and how and why does it occur?
4. How can we advise families with this debilitating disease?
Malaria and Sickle-cell Disease
Pathogen and Transmission of Malaria
Pathogen can be defined as an infectious organism that tends to attack other living things and causes disease. For malaria, the pathogen is transported by a vector called in simple terms as a transporter to the host. On the other hand, malaria is a parasitic illness, and it is caused by a pathogen caused by plasmodium, which is a single-celled organism (Pigeault et al., 2018). Malaria is a well-known disease that has affected many people across the world. Research shows that around 210 million people get malaria every year. This plasmodium pathogen occurs in various types which respond to a different form of malaria. For instance, the most dangerous form of malaria is Plasmodium falciparum. The disease is transmitted to people through a bite by an anopheles mosquito (Pigeault et al., 2018). It achieves this by feeding on people blood, and during the process, it injects infectious spores of plasmodium. After infection, a person may start showing signs and symptoms, including nausea, sweating, vomiting, fatigue, fever, chills, and headache.
Where and why Adaptation that Led to Sickle Cell Disease Occurs
Sickle cell disease refers to a very deadly problem associated with gene mutation and tends to cause the red blood cells to become misshapen and prevent delivery of oxygen to all body parts. Many scholars have proven that there is a very high occurrence of the Hbs allele in an area with high malaria cases (Sabeti, 2018). They also noted that sickle cell disease is advantageous as they develop resistance to malaria, which act as protection. For instance, a researcher called Haldane, in the 1940s, was able to conclude that in areas having prominent malaria, there are so many blood disorders like sickle cell and thalassemias (Sabeti, 2018). And in this areas, disease like sickle cell was found to be endemic. The reason behind this is that natural selection has acted to increase the protective traits of people against malaria. So by staying in these areas, their body develops an adaptive reaction or response, which is sickle cell disease (Sabeti, 2018). The sickle cell mutation was distributed in Africa and other regions affected by malaria as the body adapts to resistance against malaria.
Why Sickle Occur in Areas without Malaria after People Shift
Sickle cell disease can be inherited from parent to offspring. That is why even if people no longer stay in areas prone to malaria, but at one point they have developed adaptive reaction against it, there is a high chance the future generations will inherit the sickle cell problem. For the sickle cell to be prevalent in society, both parents must be carriers of the responsible gene as offspring tend to inherit one set from each parent as genes come in pairs (Rees, Williams & Gladwin, 2010). It can also happen when one parent is a carrier, and the other is sickle cell disease positive. So, it does not necessarily mean that a person has to be in a malaria-prone region to develop this problem.
How to Advise Families with Sickle Cell Disease
To manage this disease effectively, it must be a collaborative effort that includes family members and the health officer. Families need to know some tips so that they can ensure their parent is in good health conditions. For instance, to visit the doctor or nurse when any symptom or concern arise, make sure the victim is taking medicine as prescribed, develop a follow-up habit with a health specialist, make sure the patient is free from stress or unconducive conditions, seek any clarification from the doctor, help the client avoid smoking, alcohol or any drug to prevent pain and also give them a lot of drink and enough rest (Rees, Williams & Gladwin, 2010).