People with sickle cell anemia may experience sudden weakness on one side of their body, pain in the upper left belly, and leg ulcers. About three in five people will develop painful erections. About 35% of sufferers develop leg ulcers. Leg ulcers are painful sores that don’t heal, usually on the ankles. Affected people can experience difficulty breathing during rest or activity.
Symptoms of sickle cell anemia
A person with sickle cell anemia can experience yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mouth. This occurs when sickled cells start to die faster than the liver can filter them. The yellowing of the skin is due to bilirubin buildup. Bilirubin is a substance produced when the liver breaks down red blood cells. A person with sickle cell disease may have a yellow tint to their skin, and may also experience pain in the joints.
A blood sample may be taken from a vein in the arm, finger, or heel, and sent to a laboratory for screening. Hemoglobin levels are also checked. If they’re abnormal, a sickle cell patient may require additional testing. Other complications can arise as a result of sickle cell anemia, so a genetic counselor should be consulted. But if the condition is present, treatment may not be necessary.
Diagnosis of sickle cell anemia
A hemoglobin electrophoresis test is used to confirm whether your blood contains sickle cells and if you have the trait. Although a cure for sickle cell anemia is not available for everyone, there are several treatments available for patients with this disorder. A doctor may suspect you have the trait based on the symptoms you are experiencing, or they may run a routine blood test to determine your condition. Diagnosis of sickle cell anemia in children is important for several reasons. The tests used to confirm the condition include a hemoglobin electrophoresis, and they can be performed on newborn infants.
Blood transfusions can treat severe anemia. These transfusions increase the number of normal red blood cells, which fights the disease. Antibiotics are used to prevent pneumonia, a complication of sickle cell anemia. Patients should get annual influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, especially if their spleen has been removed. Bone marrow transplantation is another treatment for sickle cell anemia. This method is not yet completely proven, but it has helped a few people with the disease.
Treatment options for sickle cell anemia
The treatment options for sickle cell anemia when it first appears will depend on the severity and type of the disease. Symptoms of sickle cell anemia include frequent urination, pee that looks foamy, and dark skin. People with the disease may also notice that their vision is blurred or has dark shadows. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
A healthcare provider can prescribe medicine to help manage the disease and its symptoms. It is important to discuss any pain that you may experience with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will likely plan to do regular tests to detect complications early. Symptoms of sickle cell anemia may also cause constant pain. Acute pain occurs when sickled cells block blood flow, which is an emergency situation, while chronic pain lasts for at least three to six months. Pain management specialists can prescribe ways to manage your pain so that you can function normally and continue to enjoy life.
Prenatal testing for sickle cell anemia
If your child has a parent with sickle cell anemia, you might want to consider prenatal screening for sickle cell disease. In the US, prenatal screening is routine, but it is not known whether the baby’s father is a carrier. If paternal DNA is not available, the test could be delayed until the baby is born, which could put the child’s health at risk. But a noninvasive prenatal test can detect sickle cell disease before it is apparent in the baby.
The new prenatal test is noninvasive and can detect the presence of sickle cell disease without paternal DNA. Researchers presented these findings at the annual meeting of the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research in Gothenburg, Sweden, in January. The test is not available in every clinic, so it’s advisable to discuss your pregnancy with a medical professional. You should also know that prenatal testing for sickle cell anemia should not be the only option if you are a carrier.