Sickle cell anemia

It is a group of hereditary red blood cell disorders that affect the child from birth. It affects hemoglobin (the protein that transports oxygen throughout the body), and is inherited when the child receives two genetic genes (one from the father and one from the mother) symbolizing the abnormal hemoglobin.

Red blood cells contain the hemoglobin protein. Red blood cells are usually disc-shaped and flexible enough to move easily through blood vessels. As for people with sickle cell anemia, red blood cells have abnormal hemoglobin inside them; Which causes them to be shaped like a crescent or “sickle”, and these cells do not bend or move easily, so they break and get stuck inside the blood vessels, preventing blood flow to the rest of the body.

Symptoms similar to anemia occur; Because the body has difficulty creating enough new cells to replace cells that die early, including:

  • Feeling tired.
  • Headache and dizziness.
  • shortness of breath.
  • Coldness in the hands and feet.

Other symptoms of sickle cell anemia include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whitening of the eyes).
  • Painful swelling in the hands and feet.
  • Severe chronic pain.
  • Severe infection.
  • Damage to some organs.

When to see a doctor:

  • When body temperature rises above 38.5 degrees Celsius.
  • When difficulty breathing occurs.
  • When there is chest pain.
  • When there is an irregular heartbeat.
  • When there is abdominal bloating.
  • When sudden vision problems occur.
  • When a severe headache occurs.
  • Sudden weakness or loss of feeling and movement.
  • When the penis is erect for more than two hours.
  • When feeling pain anywhere in the body and that pain does not go away with treatment.


  • Acute chest syndrome, which is a life-threatening complication that can lead to lung injury, difficulty breathing, and decreased oxygen to the rest of the body.
  • Anemia.
  • Death of bone tissue.
  • Coagulation.
  • Hand-foot syndrome.
  • Infection (such as: influenza, meningitis, pneumonia).
  • Kidney problems.
  • Leg ulcers.
  • Liver problems.
  • Pain attacks.
  • Painful erection of the penis.
  • High blood pressure in the lungs.
  • Disorders related to breathing and sleep (such as: sleep apnea).
  • Splenomegaly.
  • Stroke.
  • Vision loss.

Sickle cell disease is a lifelong disease, but it can be controlled by managing symptoms and preventing complications. Blood marrow transplants and blood transfusions are currently the only treatment for sickle cell disease, but there are effective treatments that can reduce symptoms.

Couples who plan to have children and are at risk of having a child with sickle cell disease should meet with a genetic counselor to answer questions about risks and explain available options.

Instructions for people with sickle cell anemia:

  • See your doctor periodically.
  • Take vaccines regularly (such as: influenza vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine, etc.).
  • Drink plenty of fluids; To avoid dehydration.
  • Make sure to get enough sleep.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity, follow a diet, and quit smoking.
  • Avoid situations that could lead to a crisis, often extreme heat or extreme cold.
  • When you have persistent erections (prolonged painful erections), you may be able to relieve symptoms by doing light exercises, emptying your bladder by urinating, drinking more fluids, and taking medications recommended by your doctor.
  • Pay attention to psychological and mental health, and talk to family or friends about how you feel.
  • Avoid exposure to high altitudes (such as: flying, mountain climbing, or cities with high altitudes).
  • Avoid exposing the body to low oxygen levels (such as strenuous exercise).
  • Annual visits to the ophthalmologist to check for retinal damage.
  • Taking steps to prevent infection (such as: hand washing, food safety, and vaccinations).

Last Update : 06 September 2023 03:03 PM
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