Sickle Cell Anemia
(Sickle Cell Disease)
|Red Blood Cells: Normal and Sickle|
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- Pain and swelling in the hands and feet
- Yellowed skin known as jaundice
- Pale skin color
- 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
- Prolonged erection
- Sudden vision changes
Sudden, severe anemia can cause:
- Shortness of breath
- 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 prolonged erection, which may result in impotence
- Leg ulcers
- Heart murmurs or enlarged heart
- Delayed growth
- Delayed sexual development
- Problems with thinking, memory, and performance
- Aplastic crisis or transient red cell aplasia
- Bed rest
- Pain relief medications
- 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—The Hospital for Sick Children 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.
Mehanna AS. Sickle Cell Anemia and Antisickling Agents then and now. Curr Med Chem. 2001;8:79-88.
Sickle cell disease in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 11, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Sickle cell disease. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/sickle%5Fcell%5Fanemia.html. Updated September 2012. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Sickle cell disease (SCD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/index.html. Updated May 22, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Sickle Cell Disease. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/sickle-cell-disease.html. Updated January 2011. Accessed June 30, 2015.
What is sickle cell anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca/. Updated June 12, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2015.
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: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/11/2013 -