ABOUT SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a chronic, inherited red blood cell disorder. The red blood cells have an abnormal crescent or half-moon shape, block small blood vessels, and do not last as long as normal red blood cells. The blocked blood flow through the body can lead to severe problems, including stroke, eye problems, infections, and episodes of pain called pain crisis.
SCD is a lifelong illness. People with SCD start to have signs of the disease in the first year of life, usually around five months of age. Early symptoms of SCD may include jaundice, fatigue, and painful swelling of the hands and feet.
Enlarging the spleen may worsen anemia and reduce its protection against pneumonia and meningitis. Blood transfusions are used to treat severe anemia. People with SCD may need immunizations and/or antibiotics to fight certain types of serious infections.
SCD management focuses on preventing and treating pain episodes and other complications. Prevention strategies include lifestyle behaviors, medical screening, and interventions to prevent SCD complications.