Have you been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia? Or do you know anyone who is living with this condition? There is a lot of information out there about treatment and signs of sickle cell anemia. But, it can be overwhelming when you don’t know a lot about the condition. So, we’ve compiled some info here so you can learn a little more about sickle cell anemia and how to treat it.
Not Sure Exactly What Sickle Cell Is?
A lot of people have heard about sickle cell anemia (SCA). But, not everyone knows what it is. Basically, sickle cell anemia is a type of anemia that is inherited. When people have anemia, it means that they don’t have enough good red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Blood cells are supposed to be round and move easily through the body’s blood vessels. But, people who have SCA have red blood cells that are shaped abnormally. Instead of being round, the cells are shaped like crescents. Since those cells are shaped like that, they can get stuck in smaller blood cells. This causes the flow of oxygen to be difficult. Oxygen and blood flow can either slow down or be blocked.
What Are the Signs of Sickle Cell Anemia?
SCA can cause a lot of pain and other issues for people. Signs of sickle cell anemia include:
- Infections (frequently)
- Pain in arms, legs, back, and/or chest
- Joint/Bone pain
- Jaundice (the eyes and skin turn yellow)
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Delayed puberty (in teens)
- Delayed growth (in children)
- Pale skin
Of course, the symptoms and signs of sickle cell anemia will vary for different people. But these are common things that can indicate that a person has SCA.
Who’s at Risk?
If a child’s parents have sickle cell anemia or carry a sickle cell trait, the child can be born with the disease. SCA is most commonly found in ethnic populations. This includes those who are of Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or African descent.
Can it be Cured?
If you’ve found that you are showing some of the signs of sickle cell anemia, it’s important to see a doctor ASAP. This disease can be very severe for some people. So, definitely seek medical guidance for treatment. Since there are different ways to go about it, you’ll need a professional opinion.
There are a couple of different things you can do to treat this disease. Currently, there is no known cure for SCA besides surgery. A bone marrow transplant may be the way to completely be cured of sickle cell anemia. But, normally, this procedure is done on people who are 16 years old or younger. This is because the risk is higher for people who are older than this age.
A blood transfusion is another possibility for treating SCA. Also, there are medications which doctors can prescribe. The main goals of these medicines are to reduce the number of pain patients feel and to prevent any other issues. If you are showing signs of sickle cell anemia, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or a medication for pain relief.
Need Help Paying for Medication?
Has your doctor has prescribed a medication to treat your signs of sickle cell anemia? If so, it’s important to get the medicine you need and begin taking care of yourself. If your medication is a little too pricey, don’t worry. The RX Helper offers a prescription assistance program. We are here to help people get their hands on the medication that will help them get better. You can take a look at the medications we help with or contact us to find out about eligibility. Check out our services today!