On December 9th, 2020, a special edition of “Behind the Mystery: Rare and Genetic” will air on Lifetime TV as part of the acclaimed morning program The Balancing Act. It runs at 7:30 AM ET/PT. The focus of the segment is the medical, scientific, and emotional aspects of different rare diseases. The program partners with biotech companies who aim to help inform the public about these poorly understood illnesses. Over 100 rare diseases have been featured on the show so far, allowing it to be a critical resource for patients and the rare disease community as a whole.
This special edition will air two times: on December 9th and on January 26th. After the initial release the program will be available for streaming here.
The program will feature two different rare diseases: sickle cell disease and IgA nephropathy.
About Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is a genetic, inherited disorder of the blood. This disorder is characterized by an abnormality affecting hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen. The abnormality causes blood cells to lose their typical circular shape and instead take on an elongated, sickle-like appearance. This is caused by a genetic mutation that may have arisen as a defense against malaria, although this benefit only occurs in people with sickle cell trait, not the disease. Symptoms begin to appear at around six months old and include swelling of the hands and feet, stroke, bacterial infections, and acute episodes of severe pain termed sickle cell crisis. Severity of disease varies, but these attacks can result in serious declines in health and organ damage. Treatment is mostly symptomatic, but bone marrow transplant has been curative in children. The disease most frequently affects people of African ancestry. Life expectancy is between 40 and 60. To learn more about sickle cell disease, click here.
About IgA Nephropathy
IgA nephropathy, which is also known as Berger’s disease or synpharyngitic glomerulonephritis, is a rare disease which affects the immune system and the kidneys. It is characterized by the inflammation of the glomeruli, a network of capillaries found in the kidneys. In severe cases, the skin and liver may also be affected by the disease. The exact cause of IgA nephropathy is not fully understood, but evidence suggests that the immune system probably plays an important role. Symptoms of the disease include blood in the urine, often triggered by an earlier upper respiratory tract infection. Other symptoms include discolored urine, severe flank pain, swelling in the hands and feet, immune system problems, and elevated blood pressure. Kidney failure is possible in the aggressive variant. There are no approved therapies specifically for IgA nephropathy. Treatment may include steroids, cyclophosphamide, and dietary changes. To learn more about IgA nephropathy, click here.
Ready to learn more? Then don’t miss out on this special edition of Behind the Mystery: Rare and Genetic.