Sickle Cell Anemia
(Sickle Cell Disease)
|Red Blood Cells: Normal and Sickle|
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- Drop in oxygen or change in air pressure (sometimes occurs during airplane travel)
- Genetics: the defective gene needs to be inherited from both parents to have the disease
- Race: Blacks of sub-Saharan origin
- Ethnicity: Greeks, Italians, and people from some parts of India, Central and South America, and the Arabian Peninsula
- Pain and swelling in the hands and feet
- Chest pain, or episodic pain in joints, abdomen, or back
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal swelling
- Unusual or prolonged headache
- Any sudden weakness or loss of sensation
- Priapism (prolonged erection)
- Sudden vision changes
Sudden, severe anemia can cause:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart failure
- Loss of consciousness
- Destruction of the spleen
- Severe bacterial infections:
- Damage to the joints (especially hip and shoulder)
- Damage to eyes, resulting in impaired vision
- Stroke or other neurological impairment
- Liver disease
- High rate of hepatitis C
- Damage to penis, due to priapism (may result in impotence)
- Leg ulcers
- Heart murmurs or enlarged heart
- Delayed growth
- Delayed sexual development
- Problems with thinking, memory, and performance
- Bed rest
- Pain relief medicines
- Oral and IV fluids
- Oxygen—to reduce pain and prevent complications
Bone Marrow Transplant
- Take daily folic acid supplements. This will help to build new RBCs.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Avoid temperature extremes.
- Avoid overexertion and stress.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Get regular check-ups with knowledgeable healthcare providers.
- Seek genetic counseling.
American Sickle Cell Anemia Association http://www.ascaa.org
Sickle Cell Information Center http://scinfo.org
About Kids Health http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Sickle Cell Foundation of Alberta http://www.sicklecellfoundationofalberta.org
Furie KL, Kasner SE, et al. Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2010 October 21. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2010/10/21/STR.0b013e3181f7d043.full.pdf+html. Updated October 21, 2010. Accessed November 2, 2010.
Information Center for Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Disorders. Harvard University website. Available at: http://sickle.bwh.harvard.edu/index.html. Accessed October 30, 2006.
Mehanna AS. Sickle Cell Anemia and Antisickling Agents then and now. Curr Med Chem. 2001;8:79-88.
Sickle Cell Disease in Children. American Academy of Family Physicians. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/sickle-cell-disease.html. Updated December 2009. Accessed October 25, 2010.
Sickle Cell Anemia. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sickle-cell-anemia/DS00324. Updated June 2009. Accessed July 17, 2009.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Vichinsky EP, Neumayr LD, Gold JI, et al. Neuropsychological dysfunction and neuroimaging abnormalities in neurologically intact adults with sickle cell anemia. JAMA. 2010;303(18):1823-1831.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/93/2012 -