Sickle Cell Anemia Overview
What is sickle cell anemia?
A person with sickle cell anemia has an inherited disease that results in the production of abnormal hemoglobin. The abnormal hemoglobin causes the red blood cells to have an abnormal shape. As a result, the red blood cells function poorly and form small clots in the bloodstream. When small clots form in the blood vessels, the person experiences severe pain, called a painful crisis. A person with sickle cell trait produces some abnormal hemoglobin, but does not have sickle cell anemia. About 1 out of 500 African-American babies born in the US has sickle cell anemia.
What are the symptoms of sickle cell anemia?
Symptoms of anemia in those with sickle cell anemia include fatigue, pale skin, headaches, faintness, fainting, and difficulty breathing with exertion. Severe symptoms include abdominal pain, chest pain, fever, joint pains, joint swelling, vomiting, and rapid pulse.
How does the doctor treat sickle cell anemia?
Treatment for sickle cell anemia may include plenty of oral fluids, vitamin supplements, pain medications, and hydroxyurea. Treatment for severe symptoms of sickle cell anemia requires intravenous fluids, narcotic pain medications, and antibiotics.
Continue to Sickle Cell Anemia Incidence
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