Sickle cell disease and nutrition (II)
In the first part, I highlighted the key factors that affect the nutritional needs of sickle cell patients. The series of articles also looked at some of the factors that increased the nutritional requirements of sickle cell patients. The article also briefly discussed the diverse nutritional needs of sickle cell patients across the lifespan of patients, providing useful insight into the specific nutritional needs of sickle cell patients.
In part two, the article will discuss some of the most common nutritional issues associated with the disease in sickle cell patients and provide recommendations and ideas on how to address these nutritional issues faced by sickle cell patients.
In the second part, Claudine also discusses the main nutritional issues and ideas on how to tackle common nutritional issues related to the disease faced by sickle cell patients. The second part is about a management option available to support the health and well-being outcomes of sickle cell patients. We continue where Claudine left off last week:
Introduction: Sickle cell patients should be supported to make healthy lifestyle and food choices as part of their standard health care delivery. However, the nutritional needs of sickle cell patients remain neglected, leaving many patients to make these decisions independently. The lack of available evidence-based nutritional resources is a factor in the quality of information available for sickle cell patients. In the UK, the Eat Well Guide is the only evidence-based nutritional resource available to sickle cell patients to support their nutritional choices, although it is a general approach to healthy eating and not necessarily tailored to nutritional needs. specific to sickle cell patients. There is a need for more evidence-based nutritional resources tailored to meet the specific nutritional needs of sickle cell patients.
The Eating Well Guide as a nutritional resource:
The Eating Well Guide is a resource that provides an illustrated overview of the different food groups that make up a healthy and balanced diet. Additionally, the Eating Well Guide provides additional health messages to help patients make healthy food and lifestyle choices to promote good health. However, many sickle cell patients follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and therefore dietary advice should be tailored to the specific needs of sickle cell patients. Most importantly, the diet of sickle cell patients should provide adequate amounts of vitamins (such as B vitamins, vitamin D) and minerals (such as zinc, copper, iron) necessary to maintain a balanced diet, antioxidants such as (vitamins A, C, E) to support a healthy immune system and fiber to support a healthy digestive system. More and more sickle cell patients want to use herbal and herbal supplements to manage their sickle cell disease. However, more research is needed to provide evidence for the efficacy and safety profiles of many herbs, homeopathic and herbal supplements. Additionally, patients with sickle cell disease who use supplements should discuss this with their healthcare provider to rule out any drug interactions.
Common disease-related nutritional issues in sickle cell anemia
Dehydration: It is caused by insufficient fluid intake, causes thirst and is recognized as one of the common triggers of sickle cell crises. Dehydration can cause red blood cells to sickle, clot, or stick together. The nutritional recommendation is to increase daily water intake to 2-4 liters per day.
Impaired immune function: This increases the risk of infections in sickle cell patients and, if left untreated, may also contribute to the risk of malnutrition in sickle cell patients. The nutritional recommendation would be to increase the intake of foods that stimulate the immune system: intake of fruits and vegetables, five antioxidants per day, intake of micronutrients.
Infection: It is also a known trigger for sickle cell crisis. With access to evidence-based nutritional resources or a dietitian, patients with sickle cell disease can be helped to make healthy choices to cope with their risk of infection by including immune-boosting food choices, such as five a day (fruits and vegetables), antioxidants and micronutrients. intake of vitamins and minerals.
Inflammation: It is a big problem in many chronic diseases, including sickle cell disease, due to chronic hemolysis, oxidative stress, and continued tissue damage secondary to the sickle cell crisis. The nutritional recommendation is to include foods rich in omega-3s (oily fish, flax seeds, hemp oil, walnuts, chia seeds) in the diet of sickle cell patients, as this can reduce their levels of inflammation.
Chronic anemia and fatigue: These are common problems faced by many sickle cell patients. Sickle cell patients will benefit from wise food choices, to increase total energy intake. However, dietitians can play an important role, by first assessing the patient’s nutritional status, diagnosing their nutritional problems, and suggesting evidence-based treatments to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable sickle cell patients. including those at risk of disease-related malnutrition.
Dieticians: They can provide patients with practical suggestions to include high-energy snacks and nutritious drinks that can dramatically increase patients’ overall calorie and protein intake. Dietitians may recommend that patients be prescribed nutritional supplement therapy for a period of time and improve their overall nutritional status.
Constipation: This is a real problem for sickle cell patients, but taking a proactive approach and increasing the fiber and fluid intake of the diet of sickle cell patients can ease their symptoms and reduce the need for laxatives to treat constipation.
Low BMI: This can contribute to a weakened immune system, weak bones and feeling tired. Malnutrition can also lead to anemia or a deficiency of essential vitamins. The causes can be appetite suppression, increased demand and use of nutrients. The nutritional recommendation is to eat regular balanced meals, fortify your foods, eat healthy fortified snacks to cope with poor intake and weight gain.
Conclusion: Supporting sickle cell patients to manage their common disease-related nutritional issues is a priority and as such, sickle cell healthcare professionals should include these conversations in consultations with patients.
If you would like to contact me about this item or sickle cell disease, please do so, by email: [email protected] and visit my blog: www.howtolivewithsicklecell.co.uk. The electronic copy of my book on Sickle Cell Disease – How to Live With Sickle Cell Disease is available for purchase at www.toladehinde.com and if you would like to purchase a pocket version it is available on Amazon.
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