Sickle cell disease: Overview

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An easy-to-understand overview of sickle cell disease for parents.

Key points

  • Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder.
  • The two main characteristics of SCD are long-standing anemia and recurrent episodes of vaso-occlusion.
  • Anemia is a result of increased breakdown of red blood cells. Children may appear pale and have yellow eyes from time to time.
  • Vaso-occlusive episodes are caused by blockages of the blood vessels by deformed red blood cells.
  • Infection, fatigue and dehydration are possible triggers for a pain episode.
  • Do not use ice packs to treat pain.
Last updated: January 31st 2024