Your Health: Knowledge is power with sickle cell anemia - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Your Health: Knowledge is power with sickle cell anemia

Posted: Updated:
Sickle Cell bloods cells are deformed and deliver less oxygen to body tissues. Sickle Cell bloods cells are deformed and deliver less oxygen to body tissues.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Safety concerns after Thursday's explosion

    Safety concerns after Thursday's explosion

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:36 AM EDT2014-08-22 11:36:21 GMT
    Safety concerns after Thursday's explosion (Source: WAFF)Safety concerns after Thursday's explosion (Source: WAFF)
    There are some safety concerns as to if hydrogen and liquid nitrogen pose any safety concerns after Thursday's explosion at Cimmaron.More >>
    There are some safety concerns as to if hydrogen and liquid nitrogen pose any safety concerns after Thursday's explosion at Cimmaron.More >>
  • Driver faces DUI charges after crashing into a building

    Driver faces DUI charges after crashing into a building

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:33 AM EDT2014-08-22 10:33:38 GMT
    A vehicle hit a Town and Country Grocery early morning Friday. (Source: MGNOnline)A vehicle hit a Town and Country Grocery early morning Friday. (Source: MGNOnline)
    The driver of a car that crashed into a building is facing DUI charges. More >>
    The driver of a car that crashed into a building is facing DUI charges. More >>
  • Kitchen Cops; Four low performers

    Kitchen Cops; Four low performers

    Kitchen Cops; Four low performers

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:29 AM EDT2014-08-22 10:29:44 GMT
    Four low performers this week in Kitchen Cops (Source: MGNOnline)Four low performers this week in Kitchen Cops (Source: MGNOnline)
    Kitchen Cops brings the latest in reviews of some popular restaurants. See how your favorite places to eat out performed in this weeks Kitchen Cops. More >>
    Kitchen Cops brings the latest in reviews of some popular restaurants. See how your favorite places to eat out performed in this weeks Kitchen Cops. More >>
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Sickle Cell Anemia is a disease passed through families where the shape of red blood cells is deformed and delivers less oxygen to body tissues.  There are also fewer red blood cells in the body.

Glenn Merchant's sickle cell was diagnosed at a very young age.  He said he was in and out of hospitals several times.

"My joints would swell and of course they would be painful," he said.

A pain crisis usually sends the patient to the hospital.  Merchant said most of his problems centered in the joints.

"I did go through a lot of crisis before school.  I remember… once I started school, it was a little bit less," he said.

Blood cells can be demonstrated by toothpicks.  The healthy ones go straight through the vessel, but when Sickle Cells try to go through the same vessel, they have a tendency to clog.

"It starts out like a slow ache and increases in intensity," said Merchant.

Merchant lost a brother to the disease.  Most of his siblings have the sickle cell trait.  One sister does not have the trait.  His son carries the trait, but not the disease.

When two carriers marry, it increases the chances a child will have the disease.

Merchant changed his diet, eliminating chocolate and dairy, and said that helps.

The disease left him disabled, but when he feels well enough, he volunteers at the North Alabama Sickle Cell Foundation.

He advises others to educate themselves about the disease and how day to day activities can affect them. 

He said knowledge can make the disease livable.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1414 North Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, AL 35801
256-533-4848

WAFF Is a Proud Member
of the Raycom Family of Stations


FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WAFF. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.