The Need for L-Citrulline!

L-CitrullineWhat’s a picture of a watermelon have to do with L-citrulline? I’ll answer that in a little bit. Let’s first start with nitric oxide and L-arginine.

So much of the buzz about improved nitric oxide production centers on L-arginine. Unfortunately, many forget about L-citrulline. While L-arginine is the main amino acid used by the endothelial cells to create nitric oxide, some feel that L-citrulline is actually more important for long term nitric oxide production and improved cardiovascular health.

I bring this to your attention because I’m in the process of developing an educational module designed to help those with sickle cell anemia. One complication for those who have sickle cell anemia is the negative effects of the enzyme arginase.

Arginase is an enzyme located primarily in the liver. It is used to help complete the fifth and final step in the urea cycle. This urea cycle helps your body dispose of harmful ammonia. It is also found in the kidneys and prostate. Some research indicates that arginase is located in the mitochondria of most cells. The mitochondria are the portions of your cells that produce the bulk of your energy.

Arginase and Circulation!

While arginase has a useful role in the body it can also play a negative role in circulation. Why? Because arginase destroys L-arginine. Your endothelial cells convert the amino acid L-arginine to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system. It regulates blood pressure, helps to improve blood flow, keeps blood platelet cells from sticking together, prevents LDL cholesterol from adhering to the vascular walls and is a factor in a host of other very important health issues.

Everyone carries arginase in their bloodstream which can have some affect on lowering nitric oxide production. This is a bigger problem in the African American community especially for those with sickle cell disease. Thankfully, your body has an alternative pathway that enables the endothelial cells to create nitric oxide. It’s through the amino acid L-citrulline.

How Important is L-citrulline?

Well, let me introduce you to Dr. Louis J. Ignarro to answer that question. Dr. Ignarro is the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Medicine. He, and two other American researchers, were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery of how the endothelial cells create nitric oxide (NO) from the essential amino acid L-arginine. In Dr. Ignarro’s book, NO More Heart Disease, he makes the following statement:

My research shows that if you take only L-arginine, which is the dominant producer of NO, you will not receive the maximum benefit. I have found that by including the synergistic partner L-citrulline, your ability to boost NO production is greatly enhanced over the effects of L-arginine alone.”

Your endothelial cells use an alternative pathway to convert L-citrulline to nitric oxide. This helps bypass the arginase enzyme so that good nitric oxide production can be restored. Plus, L-citrulline provides a 24 to 36 hour window for enhanced nitric oxide production whereas L-arginine by itself usually only has a 30 minute to 2 hour window of enhanced nitric oxide production.

This means that L-arginine can help start the process of nitric oxide production to improve circulation. Then the L-citrulline can take over to continue the improved nitric oxide production helping to maintain improved circulation.

Dr. Ignarro goes on to say, “Any supplement program that does not contain L-citrulline and antioxidants to augment the L-arginine – and most on the market do not – is missing out on a major piece of the potential of NO to improve your cardiovascular health.” This statement and the information I shared so far leads to two important questions:

What foods contain L-arginine and L-citrulline?

Is it better to get these critical amino acids through food or supplementation?

I’m preparing two new videos to help answers these questions and to visibly show you the best and most effective method for enhanced nitric oxide production. But the first question brings me back to the picture of the watermelon.

The Watermelon!

In March of 2007 there was a study published in the Journal of Nutrition. The article was entitled “Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults.” This article created a significant buzz on the internet because L-arginine is needed to produce nitric oxide which is needed for a male erection. In the media, watermelon became the new and natural Viagra. While this study didn’t examine the effects on male anatomy it did provide some very important information confirming the body’s ability to convert L-citrulline to L-arginine to improve nitric oxide production.

The study subjects were given either 780 grams (equivalent of 1 g of citrulline) of watermelon or 1560 grams (equivalent of 2 g of citrulline) of watermelon. The study lasted three weeks. At the end of the study the 780 grams of watermelon group saw a 12% increase in fasting plasma arginine concentrations. The 1560 grams of watermelon group saw a 22% increase when compared to a control group that received no watermelon.

This clearly shows that your body has an alternative pathway for creating the necessary L-arginine from the amino acid L-citrulline.

So, is eating watermelon an effective way to improve nitric oxide production?

Well, the 780 grams of watermelon is equal to 1.72 pounds. The 1560 grams of watermelon is equal to 3.43 pounds. That’s a lot of watermelon to eat even if you like it. Plus, it includes the rind, that thick green outer covering of the watermelon. I believe there’s an easier way to achieve an even better result. I’ll show you in one of my upcoming videos.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.
The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about L-Citrulline has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Quick Order Page for ProArgi-9 Plus!

I’d like you to know about the new Quick Order Page for ProArgi-9 Plus. This page provides one central location to order this “remarkable” and unique product. It’s available to my existing customers and to those considering ProArgi-9 Plus. This short video tutorial will show you how to quickly and effectively use this page.

ProArgi-9 Plus is the nutritional supplement at the heart of the High Desert Heart Institute study. This study has had a profound impact on the method of treatment for the patients at the High Desert Heart Institute.

ProArgi-9 Plus is the product created by Dr. J. Joseph Prendergast. Dr. Joe (as he prefers to call himself) has used this L-arginine / L-citrulline supplement with other heart healthy ingredients to benefit over 7,000 patients of which 80% are diabetics. For those who have followed his advice on how to use this supplement, Dr. Joe made the following recent statement:

. . . 80% of the people have diabetes and in 17 years we have had no problems with strokes, no problems with heart attacks, I’ve not even had any admissions in 17 years. So this is a striking example in how we can use this product for real power for health. . . “

If you’re interested in ordering ProArgi-9 Plus then please click on Quick Order Page for ProArgi-9 Plus.” Once on the page I would ask you to Bookmark it so that you can conveniently return to it whenever you need to.

Additionally, if you watched the video you know that we are close to releasing our first information module “Help with Pain from Sickle Cell Anemia!” Our goal is to have this information platform up on the internet sometime between March 31st and April 15th. When it becomes live we will announce it here and provide you with a link to this platform.

Our next information module will be “Help with Complications from Diabetes!” We hope to have this one completed by the end of May. Please feel free to share the information with family and friends.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.
The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about ProArgi-9 Plus has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

11 Action Steps on How to Prevent a Stroke!

StrokeMany people look at a stroke as a brain problem.  In reality it’s a cardiovascular problem that can have deadly consequences.  For Americans, stroke is the number one cause of adult disability.  Thus, learning how to prevent a stroke will have a positive impact on decreasing its harmful effect on our community.

As pointed out in a previous article, it’s estimated that 750,000 Americans will experience a stroke this year.  Of this number, 160,000 will die.  The rest will forever have their lives changed in significant and profound ways.

For our African American friends, they are twice as likely to die from a stroke as Caucasians. The rate of having their first stroke is almost doubled.  One half of all African American women will die from either a stroke or heart disease.  For those with sickle cell anemia, 11% will have experienced a stroke by the age of 20.

All of this is pretty depressing until you understand that, according to the National Stroke Association,

“… 80% of strokes are preventable!”

Everyone is at risk for a stroke but everyone also has the power to reduce this risk.  This article will empower you with 11 action steps to help you learn how to prevent a stroke.  So, let’s get started.

Risk Factors For Stroke:  Uncontrollable vs. Controllable!

There are some uncontrollable risk factors for stroke like:  age, gender, race, family history and a previous stroke or TIA. Now, before we examine how to prevent a stroke, I would like to make some observations about two of these uncontrollable risk factors.

  • Age. Although you have no control over your chronological age, you do have the ability to reduce your biological age. One of my readers recently shared with me that he has been making some gradual changes in his eating and exercise habits.  These changes have resulted in him losing over 10 pounds.  He now has greater energy and stamina for his daily work activities as well as his recreational endeavors.  Even though his chronological age will keep moving forward, he has begun the process of improving his biological age.  Each person has the ability to make positive lifestyle changes that can significantly improve their overall health and wellness while reducing their risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.  The key is to concentrate on improving the health of your endothelial cells and their ability to produce nitric oxide.
  • Family History. If someone in your family has had a stroke, then you are at a higher risk for a stroke.  Part of this could be genetics.  Part of your family history could be lifestyle.  You have no control over the genetics but you certainly have control over your lifestyle. You have the power to change the eating, drinking, smoking, and lifestyle choices that contributed to your family member’s stroke.  The 11 action steps in this article will help you break this cycle.

Even though there are 5 uncontrollable risk factors, the good news is that there are 8 controllable risk factors that give you a high degree of control; control that can help you learn how to prevent a stroke!  They are:

  • Control High Blood Pressure.
  • Control Heart Disease especially Artial Fibrillation.
  • Stop Smoking.
  • Control Alcohol Consumption.
  • Control Your Cholesterol.
  • Control Your Diabetes.
  • Control Your Weight Through Diet, Exercise, and Nutrition.
  • Check for Other Circulatory Problems.

I talk about these 8 controllable risk factors in the article “African Americans and Stroke!” We will also take them up in the following 11 steps.

11 Steps That May Reduce Your Stroke Risk!

These 11 steps will help you learn how to prevent a stroke. Some of these steps will be pretty clear and easy to implement.  Others will require you to make a lifestyle choice.  It’s our daily choices that end up determining our overall health.

Step 1 – Go See A Qualified Physician. If you do not know what your blood pressure reading is, what your cholesterol level is, or where your blood sugar level is at, then you must get these benchmarks measured as soon as possible.  These are the big three in learning how to prevent a stroke. Also, have your physician check your heart and circulatory system especially the carotid arteries.

Step 2 – Make Sure Your Blood Pressure is under 120/80. Anything over 120/80 is of concern and anything over 140/90 is a red flag to take action. It’s the #1 risk factor for a stroke because high blood pressure increases your stroke risk 4-6 times.  This makes learning how to control your blood pressure a critical factor in learning how to prevent a stroke.

Step 3 – Make Sure Your Cholesterol Level is under 200. Anything over 200 is of concern and anything over 240 is a red flag to take action.

Step 4 – Make Sure You Are Not A Diabetic. Diabetes is not something to play around with.  Not only does it increase your risk for stroke but it also affects so many other organs in your body.  Most of the damage is due to oxidative stress on the endothelial cells and the resulting poor blood flow to the organs.

Step 5 – Control Your Weight. If you’re overweight by 30 pounds or more, then you need to make some positive changes in your eating patterns.  I’m not talking about going on a diet.  Diets don’t work! Most people have dieted their way to their current overweight condition.  The article “The Secret to Weight Loss! can assist you in implementing some simple keys; keys that can make a major impact on your weight and overall health.  Additionally, by controlling your weight you can also help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol level, and better control your blood sugar.

Step 6 – Increase Your Fiber Intake! At best the typical American is only getting 50% of the needed fiber in their diet.  Proper fiber intake may reduce 3 of the risks for stroke:  cholesterol, diabetes, and overweight/obesity. This step is so important that I have prepared a special article entitled, “Fiber and Cholesterol Reduction!” There is also a guide entitled, “Fiber, Cholesterol and Other Heath Benefits!” This guide identifies foods that will add more fiber to your diet.  This is an important step in learning how to prevent stroke.

Step 7 – Increase Your Water Intake. Proper water intake is fundamental to good health and proper weight management.  Use this simple rule of thumb.   You need 8 ounce of water for every 15 pounds of body weight. Coke, coffee, and other doctored beverages don’t count.  Only pure water!

Step 8 – Stop Smoking! You know this is a nasty habit.  Not only does smoking affect your lungs but it also affects your heart, pulmonary arteries, liver and several other systems.  Once you stop smoking, your risk from this activity will drop significantly within two years.

If you’re a woman over 30 who smokes and takes high-estrogen birth-control pills your risk for a stroke is 22 times more likely than the average non-smoker!

Step 9 – Learn STR. Smile, Talk, Raise could save your life and the life of a loved one!  I’ve designed a special “Stroke Warning Sign – The STR Poster!” that you can download and print off. Share it with family, friends, and neighbors.  Ask your barber, hair stylist, and local merchant to display it in a prominent place for as many as possible to see.  Please help educate our entire community. Together our quick response could be the difference between life or death, permanent disability or significant recovery.

Step 10 – Utilize Integrative L-arginine / L-citrulline Supplementation. Your endothelial cells line all of your cardiovascular system.  They have a total surface volume equal to approximately 4 tennis courts.  They also have a tremendous influence over the health of the cardiovascular system.  Unfortunately, your endothelial cells are damaged by oxidative stresses caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and high blood sugar levels.  This damage reduces their ability to properly produce nitric oxide which is critical to cardiovascular health.

By using a proven L-arginine / L-citrulline supplement you can help prevent and reverse this oxidative stress to the endothelial cells.  You can also improve their ability to produce nitric oxide which is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system.  This is extremely important for the African American community.

Genetic research has uncovered a significant genetic variance that directly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in many people of African descent.  African Americans produce too much of an enzyme called arginase.  In the bloodstream, arginase destroys the amino acid L-Arginine so that it’s no longer available for the production of nitric oxide. This can lead to weakened or damaged blood vessels and significantly increase the risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke.

I recommend ProArgi-9 Plus since it has been clinical shown to improve the cardiovascular system and help to heal and reverse the damage to the endothelial cells allowing them to properly produce nitric oxide.

Step 11 – Control Your Alcohol Consumption. For most, moderate drinking doesn’t affect their risk for stroke.  “Moderate” drinking means limiting your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.  By definition, a “moderate” drink is 1.5 oz. of hard liquor, 4 oz. of wine, or 12 oz. of beer.  However, drinking more than 2 drinks per day may increase your stroke risk by 50%.


I hope these 11 Steps will be a direct benefit in helping you learn how to prevent a stroke. I’ve given you some very specific steps.  These steps can start you on the path towards reducing your risk for stroke while improving your overall health and wellness.  As you continue to read articles and gain information, you will be learning how to make other positive changes in your life.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology.  He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.
The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam.  The information contained in this article about stroke has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

African Americans and Sickle Cell Anemia!

Concerned Woman.Recent research on sickle cell anemia has shown how improving nitric oxide production can make a significant difference in symptom severity.  I’ve written about this in my article “Nitric Oxide and Sickle Cell Anemia!”  The purpose of this article is to provide a basic understanding of this genetic disease. 

Although African Americans are affected the most by sickle cell disease, it can affect Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian Indian ancestry.  There is a growing segment in the Latino-American population particularly those of Caribbean, Central American, and South American ancestry who are also affected by this disease. 

In the United States one out of every 400 births has this disease.  The most common type of sickle cell disease is sickle cell anemia. 

Definition and Description of Sickle Cell Disease 

Sickle cell disease is a group of inherited blood disorders that center on red blood cells.  These red blood cells can function abnormally resulting in small blood clots, chronic anemia, painful events, and potential complications associated with tissue and organ damage.  These blood disorders include sickle cell anemia, Mediterranean blood disease, and the sickle beta thalassemia syndromes. 

All types of sickle cell disease are caused by a genetic change in the hemoglobin portion of the red blood cell.  Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein inside the red blood cell.  Normal red blood cells are oval and flexible.  Red blood cells in sickle cell disease have a tendency to reshape themselves into rod-like structures that resemble the curved blade of a sickle; thus, the term sickle cell.  

Sickle cells have a shorter life span than normal red blood cells.  This results in chronic anemia and reduced oxygen to the tissues of the body.  Sickle cells are sticky and less flexible than normal red blood cells.  This presents a problem since they can be trapped in the small blood vessels preventing proper blood flow to the tissues.  This compromises the delivery of oxygen and results in tissue pain.  It also has the potential to damage the associated tissues and organs. 

Carriers of the sickle cell gene are referred to as having sickle cell trait.  Most of the time sickle cell trait does not cause health problems.  In fact, sickle cell trait can be beneficial because it provides protection against malaria, a disease caused by blood-borne parasites transmitted through mosquito bites.  It is estimated that one in 12 African-Americans has sickle cell trait. 

The Cause of Sickle Cell Disease! 

The hemoglobin molecule of a red blood cell is made up of three components:  

  • Heme
  • Alpha or alpha-like globin
  • Beta or beta-like globin.   

Sickle cells contain a genetic change in the beta globin component of the hemoglobin molecule.  This is caused by a change in the genetic coding on chromosome 11.  One small change in a single DNA nucleotide results in a different amino acid being inserted into the beta globin protein of the hemoglobin molecule.  This results in the unique properties of sickle cells.  For simplicity we will call this altered gene the “sickle cell gene” and the regular gene the “normal red blood cell gene.” 

For most individuals, they have two copies of the “normal red blood cell gene” to produce normal beta globin resulting in typical red blood cells.  Individuals with sickle cell trait have one “normal red blood cell gene” and one “sickle cell gene” so they produce both normal red blood cells and sickle cells in roughly equal proportions.  Because of this they do not usually experience significant health problems as a result of having sickle cell trait.  Those with sickle cell anemia have two “sickle cell genes.” 

Genetics play a significant role in both the disease, symptoms, and in family planning.  If both members of a couple have sickle cell trait, then there is a 25% chance in each pregnancy for the baby to inherit two sickle cell genes.  The resulting child will have sickle cell anemia.  Correspondingly, there is a 50% chance the baby will have sickle cell trait and a 25% chance that the baby will have the “normal red blood cell genes”.  

If both members of a couple have sickle cell anemia, then the baby will have sickle cell anemia 100% of the time.  If one member of the couple has sickle cell anemia and the other has both “normal red blood cell genes”, then the resulting child will have sickle cell trait 100% of the time.  Finally, if one member of the couple has sickle cell trait and the other has both “normal red blood cell genes”, then the resulting child has a 50% chance of having normal red blood cell hemoglobin or a 50% chance of having sickle cell trait. 

The Need for Oxygen! 

Oxygen is necessary for life and the optimal function of all cells.  Red blood cells transport the oxygen from your lungs to the tissues of your body.  It’s the hemoglobin molecule that binds oxygen to itself in the lungs.  It then releases oxygen to the tissues for proper cell respiration.  However, once the oxygen is released by the sickle cell hemoglobin it can cause the red blood cell to alter its normal oval shape into the rigid, sickle shape characteristic of sickle cells.  Low oxygen can be a trigger for this change.  Studies also seem to indicate that cold temperatures and dehydration can be additional factors in triggering this change. 

Normal red blood cells can survive for approximately 120 days where as sickle cells typically last 10-12 days.  This is an important factor because it leaves the bloodstream chronically short of red blood cells and hemoglobin which leads to anemia.  This creates its own shortage of oxygen which could trigger a shape change in the oval red blood cell to the sickle shape.  This rigid, sickle shape causes circulation problems especially in small blood vessels.  

In addition, there are altered chemical properties that develop which increases the cells’ “stickiness”.  This is why sickle cells tend to adhere to the inside surfaces of small blood vessels, as well as other blood cells, resulting in blockages.  These blockages prevent oxygenated blood from reaching the tissues resulting in pain.  If kept without oxygen long enough possible organ and tissue damage can occur. 

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia! 

Common symptoms for those with sickle cell anemia include the following: 

  • Bloody urine
  • Bone and/or abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Delayed growth and delayed puberty
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue, breathlessness, rapid heart rate
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased susceptibility to infections, fever
  • Pain which can vary from moderate to intense
  • Paleness, yellow eyes and/or skin, jaundice
  • Poor eyesight or blindness
  • Ulcers on the lower legs usually in adolescents and adults 

For those with sickle cell anemia, the severity of symptoms varies widely and cannot be predicted solely on genetic inheritance.  Some with sickle cell anemia develop health and life threatening problems in infancy while others only have mild symptoms throughout their lives.  Others experience various degrees of health issues as they age.  Certain variations of sickle cell disease tend to have less severe symptoms than other types of sickle cell disease. 

Organs Affected by Sickle Cell Anemia 

Various organs and body systems can be effect by sickle cell disease.  As you will see from this list, sickle cell anemia has a wide range of effects on the body.  The bottom line is that any tissue that needs oxygen and adequate blood flow can be at risk. 

  • Acute Chest Syndrome – Acute chest syndrome or ACS is a leading cause of death for those with sickle cell disease.  It takes place in the lungs.  Rapid diagnosis and treatment is very important.  ACS can occur at any age.  It is similar to pneumonia in symptoms but distinct in its damage. 
  • Anemia – As we learned early, sickle cells have a life span of 10-12 days resulting in a deficiency of red blood cells in the bloodstream.  It is the hemoglobin of red blood cells that carry oxygen, so with this deficiency there is a reduction in oxygen to the tissues.  Common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, paleness, and a shortness of breath.  The heart rate will increase.  This circulates more blood helping to make up for the lack of oxygen to the tissues. 
  • Delayed Growth – Because of the short life span of sickle cells, the demands on the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells compete with the demands of a growing body.  Children with sickle cell anemia may experience delayed growth and reach puberty at a later age.  However, by early adulthood, they catch up on growth and height but may still remain below average in weight. 
  • Infections and the Spleen – Children under the age of three with sickle cell anemia are particularly susceptible to life-threatening bacterial infections especially from Streptococcus pneumoniaeUnfortunately, 15% of these types of cases result in death.  Since your spleen helps to fight bacterial infections, it is particularly vulnerable.  For those with sickle cell anemia, it is not uncommon to see the loss of spleen function by late childhood. 
  • Jaundice and Gallstones – Jaundice is indicated by a yellow tone in the skin and eyes due to increased levels of bilirubin.  Bilirubin is the final product of hemoglobin degradation when red blood cells are destroyed.  Bilirubin is  removed from the bloodstream by the liver.  Elevated levels can increase the chance for gallstones.   
  • Joint Problems – The blood supply to the connective tissues, especially in the hip and shoulder joints, can be blocked by the sickle cells resulting in bone damage and poor healing.  This complication can affect an individual’s physical abilities and result in substantial and chronic pain. 
  • Kidney Disease – Kidneys are particularly prone to damage from sickle cells.  Adults with sickle cell disease often experience reduce kidney function which can progress to kidney failure. 
  • Painful EventsThis is the hallmark symptom of sickle cell disease.  The frequency and duration varies tremendously from individual to individual and over an individual’s lifetime.  These painful events are also the most common cause for hospitalization.  This hallmark symptom results when the small blood vessels become blocked by the sickle cells preventing oxygen from reaching the tissues.  Although pain can affect any area of the body, the most frequent sites are the extremities, chest, abdomen, and bones. 
  • Priapism – Only males have to deal with this since it is a condition characterized by a persistent and painful erection.  Blood vessels become blocked by sickle cells so that blood is trapped in the tissue of the male’s organ.  It’s extremely painful and can result in damage to this tissue causing impotence.   
  • Retinopathy – The blood vessels that support the tissue at the back of the eye may be blocked by sickle cells resulting in this condition.  Regular ophthalmology evaluations and effective treatment can help a person avoid permanent damage to their vision. 
  • Stroke – This is the most concerning complication of sickle cell disease.  Approximately 11% of individuals with sickle cell anemia will have a recognizable stroke by the age of 20.  A stroke in a person with sickle cell disease is usually caused by a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain by the sickle cells.  This results in lack of oxygen to the affected area of the brain.  The consequences are far ranging from undetectable effects, to apparent or subtle learning disabilities, to severe physical or cognitive impairment, to life-threatening situations. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sickle Cell Anemia 

The inheritance of sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait cannot be prevented but it can be predicted so screening is recommended.  If you exhibit symptoms, then contact your physician so that accurate tests can be done.  These tests can determine if you carry the “sickle cell gene” and what level of risk you are at.  For newborns, more than 40 states include sickle cell screening as part of the battery of blood tests.  However, don’t just assume the test is done.  You must always be proactive. 

Hemoglobin trait screening is always a good choice for any person of a high-risk ethnic background especially if you are planning on having children.  If you and your partner are found to have sickle cell or any other hemoglobin traits, then you might want to receive genetic counseling to better understand the risk of sickle cell disease for your offspring.  There are various testing options available to you to help you in your planning. 

There are various treatment options to help prevent some of the symptoms and complications of sickle cell disease.  These treatment options can include: 

  • Access to comprehensive health care
  • Adequate nutrition
  • Avoiding stresses and infection
  • Blood transfusions
  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Getting proper rest
  • Good hydration
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Pain management
  • Proper immunizations
  • Supplementation with folic acid
  • Support groups
  • Surgery
  • Use of preventative antibiotics

As with any disease condition, you want to always work with a qualified health professional to develop a course of action that best fits your individual situation. 

New Research on Nitric Oxide! 

There is new research that shows a direct correlation between nitric oxide deficiency and symptom severity for those with sickle cell anemia.  I will discuss this in my companion article “Sickle Cell Disease – 14 Helpful Steps!”  This article discusses the latest research.  It also provides 14 suggestions you can use to help those with sickle cell disease. 

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of sickle cell anemia.  I encourage you to take the steps to educate yourself and any loved ones who may have this health issue.  We can help empower them to take the necessary steps to improve their overall health and wellness. 

Together we can work to save a million lives! 

Dan Hammer 

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology.  He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.   
The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam.  The information contain in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.