Sickle Cell Disease (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder. More specifically, sickle cell disease is an autosomal recessive disease. This means that to have the disease, you must inherit a gene for the disease from both parents.
Painful events (crises) in the hands or feet, abdomen, back, or chest are the most common symptom of sickle cell disease. This pain may last from hours to days. Most people with sickle cell disease experience anemia. Symptoms of anemia include feeling weak and tired. People with sickle cell disease can appear pale or washed out. Or they have a yellowish look to their skin and the whites of their eyes (jaundice).
When a child is born with sickle cell disease, it isn't possible to predict which symptoms will appear, when they will start, or how bad they will be. Most symptoms of sickle cell disease are related to either long-term (chronic) anemia or blood vessels blocked by sickled cells.
Symptoms related to chronic anemia
Most people who have sickle cell disease have at least mild symptoms of chronic anemia, which may include:
Symptoms caused by blocked blood vessels
Pain symptoms caused by blocked blood vessels in bones, organs, and other tissues include hours to days of extreme pain. These painful events can occur rarely to often. Sometimes home treatment can help the pain. And sometimes a hospital stay is needed.
Children ages 6 months to 4 years may have episodes of extreme pain in the hands, the feet, or both (hand-foot syndrome).
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