What Is Sickle Cell Anemia? Sickle cell anemia is an inherited form of anemia a condition in which there arent enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body Normally, our red blood cells are flexible and round In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells become rigid and are shaped like sickles or crescent moons.
Causes of SCD: Sickle cell anemia is caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin called hemoglobin S. Hemoglobin is a protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen. Hemoglobin S changes the shape of red blood cells, especially when the cells are exposed to low oxygen levels. The red blood cells become shaped like crescents or sickles. Sickle cell anemia is inherited from both parents. If you inherit the hemoglobin S gene from one parent and normal hemoglobin (A) from your other parent, you will have sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait do not have the symptoms of sickle cell anemia.
Symptoms of SCD: Symptoms usually dont occur until after age 4 months Common symptoms include: Attacks of abdominal pain Bone pain Breathlessness Delayed growth and puberty
Fatigue Fever Paleness Ulcers on the lower legs (in adolescents and adults) Yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice) Chest pain Excessive thirst Rapid heart rate
Treatment of SCD: The goal of treatment is to manage and control symptoms, and to limit the number of crises. Patients with sickle cell disease need ongoing treatment, even when they are not having a painful crisis. Folic acid supplements should be taken. Folic acid is needed to make red blood cells.