Besides promising treatment regimes such as bone marrow transplant and blood transfusion, living with sickle cell anemia also requires thorough management and post-treatment care to avoid any recurrence of the deadly disorder.
The average age for person with sickle cell anemia is around 45 years for both male and female candidates; however, this may vary on case to case basis. At present, modalities like blood transfusion and bone marrow transplants are showing better results in curing sickle cell anemia. A person living with sickle cell disease also needs to follow up post-treatment care recommended by the doctor to lead a healthy lifestyle. A significant number of people in India are infected by this disease; however, multiple centers for sickle cell treatment and management of the disease are available across the country.
Sickle cell anemia in India
Studies suggest that sickle cell anemia in India is a neglected chronic disease and accounts for second highest disease burden in the country. Most of the disease burden is among underprivileged section of the society as well as unevenly distributed across the geography. Most affected regions in India with sickle cell anemia are northern state and central part.
Despite high levels of fetal hemoglobin, sickle cell disease in India has non-uniform mild levels. Hydroxyurea therapy and comprehensive care have shown better result in disease management, with screening of the newborn is widely being accepted to find the root cause of the disorder. The state and central governments are aggressively setting up diagnosis center for patient care.
Sickle cell anemia treatment in India
Multiple lines of treatment and disease management are available in leading hospitals across India. The treatment procedure adopted is used to alleviate disease pain syndromes, related complications, and enhance the quality of life for a patient.
These procedures comprise:
- Antibiotics: Normally, antibiotics are given to prevent any unwanted complication and infections in young kids. Sometimes, childhood immunization is also done to achieve the same objective.
- Hydroxyurea: This drug is used to prevent or decrease various complications associated with sickle cell anemia by increasing the presence of fetal hemoglobin in patient’s bloodstream. However, the drug is not suitable for all patients suffering from sickle cell anemia.
- Pain Killer Medicines: Pain killer medicines are given to the patients for relieving from chronic or acute pain.
- Bone Marrow Transplant: BMT is a complicated procedure involving harvesting of blood cells from bone marrow and injected back after filtration. The cells can be extracted from patient’s own bone marrow or a matching donor’s bone marrow. The procedure is performed to replace infected blood cells with healthy ones.
- Blood Transfusions: This procedure is recommended when disease is in advance stage. A patient with severe anemia or stroke is a suitable candidate for blood transfusion.
Sickle cell anemia patients are required to maintain healthy lifestyle, regular check-up and medical care, and avoiding such environments that may trigger pain. So far BMT and blood transfusion remains best treatment options for sickle cell anemia patients other modalities are support care techniques that helps is disease management and avoid any side effects.
Sickle cell anemia management
The objective of sickle cell anemia treatment is to alleviate pain and prevent the chances of infections. Doctor may recommend antibiotics to reduce infections; vitamin supplements and Folic acid to replace the infected RBCs. Hospitalization is necessary if disease has spread to internal organs where doctor will decide on further course of treatment including pain killers, BMT or blood transfusion. BMT has shown good results in sickle cell anemia management in some cases. Gene therapy, a complex procedure to alter the genetic configuration, is also helpful in treating this disease.
Tips for management of sickle cell disease
Sickle cell disease symptoms and management vary from individual to individual, for instance extent of pain and different therapies to alleviate that pain. Here are some tips to manage sickle cell disease which can help the patient having sickle cell anemia:
- Follow a good diet that contains a balanced amount of protein, fruits, whole grains and vegetables.
- Stay updated on all recommended vaccines by the doctor, as it will keep common diseases in control such as vaccine for annual flu shot, meningococcal and and pneumococcal vaccines. As common illnesses increase the chances of sickle cell disease.
- Drink enough fluids to keep your body hydrated to avoid any risk of sickle cell anemia. Doctors recommend around 8 glass of water per day, and even more if the person is exercising in hot and humid weather.
- Have a good night sleep to have proper rest and improved metabolism.
- Always have your medicine as prescribe by your doctor besides regular health check up and recommended lab tests to keep a track of your health and disease.
- Maintain a routine for moderate exercise about 30 minutes a day for five days a week at least. Walking or cycling is a good option along with other physical activities. Consult with your doctor for a better exercise regime.
What to avoid?
Certain conditions may trigger sickle cell anemia and individuals who have this disease should avoid these things including:
7. Avoid high altitude, as low oxygen level may trigger a crisis, however air travel is okay.
8. Avoid stress, though difficult to do so, but one must learn to distress and stress management skills.
9. Avoid extreme temperatures, as cold or hot or temperature shocks may induce sickle cells crisis.
10. Infections: keep a check on regular infections and follow good hygiene at home or outside.
11. Avoid drinking and smoking, as these may dehydrate you and cause low oxygen levels in the body.
12. Avoid intense physical work, as this may exhaust you and impact your breathing pattern.
Bone marrow transplant for sickle cell in India
Bone marrow transplant for sickle cell anemia requires around one month hospital stay to complete the procedure. Patient is administered with specific drugs to decrease the chances of rejection of the transplant. The BMT treatment cost comprises hospital stay, diagnostic tests, doctors’ fees, medicines and follow-up care. India is fast becoming a global hub for affordable and best-in-class healthcare infrastructure for complex disease treatment and procedures. With expert and trained surgeons as well as world class hospital facilities, India is a preferred destination for medical tourism. Above all, the cost of BMT and other sickle cell anemia treatment is way below as compared to the western counterpart.
Cost for sickle cell anemia treatment in India
In India, the cost of Sickle cell anemia treatment is around US$ 15,000, though the price varies with disease stage and symptoms, patient’s overall health, and procedure adopted. Still, the cost is about 25% of the total cost in the US.
Along with South Asian nations thousands of medical tourists from Africa and Middle East region visit India for Sickle cell anemia treatment. India also offers all type of assistance and support amenities to foreign patients visiting here.
With an exhaustive, well researched data collated over the years through our patient experience from 27 countries and over 7 years of excellent patient care, we bring you a comprehensive and patient-centric approach that connects you with the right doctor, appropriate hospital and best infrastructure for your specific requirements. While you choose to travel India for your Sickle cell anemia treatment, you would surely look for cost savings and that is why we have special negotiated prices for you and offering you best possible prices for the top quality of facility and services.
We would also provide you end to end assistance for your medical trip to India and shall provide complete solution for your Sickle cell anemia treatment – right from assisting you with the visa, hotel arrangements, airport pick up and drop, inland transfers, money exchange or sight-seeing and all other concierge services. We thus assure you hassle-free arrangements for evaluations, surgery, recuperation, stay and travel in India.