With sickle cell disease, an inherited group of disorders, red blood cells contort into a sickle shape. The cells die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells (sickle cell anemia), and can block blood flow causing pain (sickle cell crisis).
Infections, pain, and fatigue are symptoms of sickle cell disease.
Treatments include medications, blood transfusions, and rarely a bone-marrow transplant.
Sickle cell Anemia
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Sickle Cell Disease?
People with sickle cell disease can have pain crises. In a pain crisis:
· Pain may happen in any part of the body.
· Cold, stress, or dehydration can bring on pain.
· The pain may last a few hours, a few days, or sometimes longer.
· Sometimes pain can be managed at home. But someone with severe pain might need treatment in a hospital.
People with sickle cell disease often have a low number of red blood cells, or anemia. Signs of anemia include:
· paleness, often seen in the skin, lips, or nailbeds
· being short of breath
· feeling lightheaded
· being irritable
· trouble paying attention
· a fast heartbeat
People with sickle cell anemia may have jaundice . This happens because the sickle-shaped red blood cells break down faster than normal cells. Jaundice can make the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow.
What Problems Can Happen?
People with sickle cell disease can have problems that need immediate care by a doctor, such as:
· Acute chest syndrome: Caused by inflammation, infection, and blockages of small blood vessels of the lung. Signs include chest pain, coughing, trouble breathing, and fever.
Aplastic crisis: This is when the body temporarily does not make enough re Acute chest syndrome: Caused by inflammation, infection, and blockages of small blood vessels of the lung. Signs include chest pain, coughing, trouble breathing, and fever d
Aplastic crisis: This is when the body temporarily does not make enough red blood cells, and can cause severe anemia. Signs include paleness, extreme tiredness, and a fast heartbeat.
Hand-foot syndrome: This painful swelling of the fingers and toes (also called dactylitis ) is the first sign of sickle cell anemia in some infants
Infection: Kids with sickle cell disease are a risk for some bacterial infections. It's important to watch for fevers of 101°F (38°C) or higher, which can be signs of an infection.
Priapism: Males with sickle cell disease can have painful, lasting erections. If it's not treated quickly, damage can cause problems with getting erections later on.
Stroke: Sickle-shaped cells can block small blood vessels in the brain, causing a stroke. Signs include headache, seizures, weakness in the arms and legs, speech problems, a facial droop, or loss of consciousness.
People with sickle cell disease are also at risk for problems such as leg ulcers, bone or joint damage, gallstones, kidney damage, eye damage, and delayed growth.