Archive for April, 2015

Living well with Sickle Cell Disease

Posted: April 12, 2015 by 941kishasc in Health, Sickle Cell

People living with sickle cell disease can live full lives and enjoy most activities that others do.  Below are some tips to help you or someone you know with sickle cell stay healthy:

  • Find good medical care – Sickle cell is a complex disease.  It’s best to visit a hematologist (a doctor who specializes in blood diseases) for care.  They know a lot about the disease and this would prevent any serious problems later on.
  • Get regular checkups – Get regular checkups with a primary doctor.
    • Newborns to age 1 should get checkups every 2 to 3 months.
    • Children ages 1 to 2 should get checkups at least every 3 months.
    • Children and adults ages 2 and up should get a checkup at least once a year.
  • Prevent infections – Such illnesses, like the flu, can become dangerous to a child with sickle cell.  You can help keep them safe by getting them the flu shot and making sure that they always wash their hands.
  • Learn healthy habits – People living with sickle cell disease should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.  Children can participate in physical activity to stay healthy.  It’s important that they also drink plenty of water, rest when tired and don’t over do it.
  • Get support – Find local support groups that can provide information, assistance and support.

A Few Signs and Symptoms of Sickle Cell

Posted: April 11, 2015 by 941sheriesc in Health, Sickle Cell

Signs and symptoms of sickle cell anemia often don’t appear until an infant is at least 4 months old and may include:

  • Anemia. Sickle cells are fragile. They break apart easily and die, leaving you without a good supply of red blood cells. Red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before they die and need to be replaced. But sickle cells die after an average of less than 20 days. This results in a lasting shortage of red blood cells (anemia). Without enough red blood cells in circulation, your body can’t get the oxygen it needs to feel energized. That’s why anemia causes fatigue.
  • Episodes of pain. Periodic episodes of pain, called crises, are a major symptom of sickle cell anemia. Pain develops when sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood flow through tiny blood vessels to your chest, abdomen and joints. Pain can also occur in your bones. The pain may vary in intensity and can last for a few hours to a few weeks. Some people experience only a few episodes of pain. Others experience a dozen or more crises a year. If a crisis is severe enough, you may need to be hospitalized.
  • Hand-foot syndrome. Swollen hands and feet may be the first signs of sickle cell anemia in babies. The swelling is caused by sickle-shaped red blood cells blocking blood flow out of their hands and feet.
  • Frequent infections. Sickle cells can damage your spleen, an organ that fights infection. This may make you more vulnerable to infections. Doctors commonly give infants and children with sickle cell anemia vaccinations and antibiotics to prevent potentially life-threatening infections, such as pneumonia.
  • Delayed growth. Red blood cells provide your body with the oxygen and nutrients you need for growth. A shortage of healthy red blood cells can slow growth in infants and children and delay puberty in teenagers.
  • Vision problems. Some people with sickle cell anemia experience vision problems. Tiny blood vessels that supply your eyes may become plugged with sickle cells. This can damage the retina — the portion of the eye that processes visual images.

Sickle Cell Support Group

Posted: April 11, 2015 by sicklecellunite in Children, Events, Sickle Cell, Support Group
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