Victoria Ekanoye health: ‘I just battled through it’ Star on her sickle cell anaemia
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Victoria Ekanyoe, 37, is famed for her time on Coronation Street and X Factor Celebrity. The multi-talented star revealed her secret battle with sickle cell anaemia. What is it and what are the symptoms to spot?
Victoria was diagnosed with the condition in her early 20s however decided to keep the diagnosis a secret from her mother.
The difficult secret meant years of living in pain.
Victoria said she was experiencing bad pain but worried her mum would pull her from her beloved sports.
Speaking to BBC Sounds The Sista Collective Victoria said: “I just managed the pain and almost became used to it.
“I just battled through it because I loved sport so much and didn’t want to give that up.”
Sickle cell anaemia is a red blood cell disorder which is inherited and occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
In a healthy body, red blood cells move easily through blood vessels but with sickle cell anaemia, the red blood cells are shaped more like crescent moons.
“These rigid, sticky cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body,” added the Mayo Clinic.
The health site continued: “There’s no cure for most people with sickle cell anaemia.
“But treatments can relieve pain and help prevent complications associated with the disease.”
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Symptoms of sickle cell anaemia include:
Having episodes of pain which develops when sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood flow through tiny blood vessels to your chest, abdomen and joints and pain can also occur in your bones.
Swelling of hands and feet which is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking blood flow to the hands and feet.
Frequent infections due to the condition affecting the spleen, leaving a person more vulnerable to infections.
Delayed growth or puberty due to red blood cells providing the body with the oxygen and nutrients needed for growth.
Therefore, having a shortage of healthy red blood cells can slow growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
Vision problems due to the tiny blood vessels that supply the eyes can becoming plugged with sickle cells.
This can damage the retina — the portion of the eye that processes visual images — and lead to vision problems.
The pain of sickle cell anaemia varies in intensity and can last for a few hours to a few weeks, added the Mayo Clinic.
“Some people have only a few pain crises a year.
“Others have a dozen or more pain crises a year. A severe pain crisis requires a hospital stay.”
“If I’m honest, there were probably times where the pain was quite a lot, but I just didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to pull me from the teams,” Victoria said.
Victoria has learned to manage the condition and pain much better and now works alongside sickle cell anaemia charities to raise awareness of the condition.
In 2018, she appeared with several of her Corrie cast mates on the celebrity version of ITV game show The Chase in a bid to raise money for The Sickle Cell Society.
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